Although most white varieties on the West Coast are already in, I have received no word that anyone on the North Fork has yet to begin harvest. Ros Baiz of The Old Field Vineyards, who was hoping to accompany me to the Master of Wine Champagne tasting today, might not make it because the Brix level of their grapes was approaching 19 the number when they start picking for sparkling.
Because of the sugar added as dosage at the end of the process of making sparkling wine, winemakers and vineyard managers out here pick their grapes for sparking at lower sugar levels. Grapes for still wines are usually picked in the midtwenties.
Donna Rudolph, assistant vineyard manager at Bedell Cellars, told me last week that they’re starting to consider to pick for sparkling. She was busy spraying in anticipation of rain.
And rain she got, with the added damp and cloudy on Sunday that got hot and windy later; vineyards have to wait for things to dry out before picking.