We had thought that we’d be picking our grapes on Labor Day weekend, but we ended up postponing it just a bit more. Our total Brix readings were just around 20, and the pH level was around 3.1. None of the grapes seem to be rotting, shriveling or dropping off, and the netting seems to be very protective. And there is no rain in the forecast to dilute the grape juice. So we continue to measure sample grapes for sweetness and acidity, as the sugar levels still go up.
So rather than picking grapes, we spent more time cleaning up the barn where we are planning to ferment the grapes. We scrubbed one of the stainless steel tanks, which we converted from its former use in a milking parlor to a wine fermenter. We had to lay it on its side, in order to crawl into it – first to remove a piece of metal that had been welded into the bottom of the tank (a “vortex diverter” for the automated washing system). This was done with a dremel cutting tool, which was incredibly effective. Duff took care of the cutting – Tina took are of the scrubbing.
While the tank was outside the barn, we completely emptied out that section and pressure washed it down. The press is sitting outside, where it still will need to be cleaned and sanitized as well. Now we have the tank moved back, and it is sitting upright. We still need to level it before we can use it, but everything is coming together!