Now the Merlot fruit is in the press and the morning light shines through the wine as it leaves the press on it’s journey to those fabulous barrels. They now will begin the long doze there for 18-20months. Can you possibly stand the wait?

Check the color of the Rua 2011 Merlot as it starts it’s journey to the press -well this free run juice ain’t gonna need any pressing! Juicy Juicy goodness in a vintage when folks were really concerned about ripening.

A short video on how we sample sugars in our Merlot vineyard

Checking Fruit Sugars

Well today we had our first foray of this vintage into checking sugars. This is a process which helps us know the best time to pick the grapes to get optimum flavors. Both vineyards are not too far away from each other geographically - only 7 miles from the Carneros appellation in Napa where we get our Merlot to the Oak Knoll appellation also in Napa Valley where we source our Cabernet Franc. The process involves picking a good cross section of berries, squeezing them to extract the juice and then testing the sugar or brix with a machine called a Refractometer. Today the Merlot was 21.6 degrees (a little further along than we expected) and the Cabernet Franc was 20.5 degrees (right around where we thought it would be). 

We will continue to check sugars every week and as we get closer to our Harvest date we’ll likely check them every other day.  We may have to adjust our picking date a little, always a gamble when you have to schedule pickers, but we’re pleased both grapes are trucking along at around the same sugar levels especially as harvesting them together is crucial to our co-fermenting plans for Rua. One of the many things that sets our wine apart from others. Can’t wait to see how much the sugars climb by next week.