Well, veraison is well on its way to completion. Our grapes have been mighty busy these past few weeks, putting on a lot of sugar and a lot of color. We’re probably no more than two weeks away from starting our hand-pick harvest of certain varieties, and as I type this we’re busy taking samples of all our vineyards in order to keep an eye on sugar levels.
As discussed in the previous post, the grapes put on color and sugar in order to attract birds and other animals which might eat and transport their seeds, and the critters are busy attempting to do just that. Bird damage is a constant problem for vineyards, particularly when it comes to the invasive European starling, which forms flocks sometimes thousands strong, and if left unopposed can wipe out an entire vineyard block. (In one memorable instance, a small black bear found one of our vineyards and set about gorging itself—but thankfully that sort of scenario is vanishingly rare.) But they’re not going to be left unopposed: in addition to nigh-constant sampling, we have teams roving the vineyards firing off small devices we colloquially refer to as “screamers,” and we’ve set up scarecrows and propane “cannons” (which actually do nothing more that produce a concussive “BOOM!” every few minutes).
The final countdown to harvest has begun—now its just a matter of waiting for the right amount of sugar to accumulate in the grapes, and then we’re off to the races.