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02 2010

Sat, 20 Feb 2010

Picking the 2010 Waite Shiraz

Picking grapes

I helped out with picking the Shiraz (aka Syrah) allocated to my group from the Coombe vineyard on the Waite Campus today. We started picking at about 6:30, and I carried on until 10:00 when I had a lecture I had to attend. Others carried on until all our three and a half rows were picked, and we had around a tonne of fruit.

The fun part of this for me getting up at 5 am. It's something I can do if I have to, but I certainly don't enjoy it. It was worth it, though, once I got out into the vineyard.

Vitis vinifera 'Shiraz' vine

South Australia has experienced a really hot year this year -- again -- and this was particularly evident from seeing how some of the grapes were shrivelled on the vine. Here is the worst example I found:

Sunburnt grapes

... but that was the exception rather than the rule. More common were bunches where a percentage were burnt, and the rest were fine:

Bunch of Shiraz grapes

As the burnt grapes will be removed by the crusher-destemmer, we were told it was fine to include them with the picked grapes.

Grapevines   Grapes in bin

Also, we can haz tractor! Luckily for everybody, I wasn't allowed to drive it ;-)


Next week sometime, we'll pick the Mataró. I've got so many classes next week, I'm not certain I'll manage to do much towards that, which is a shame. I'm not the fastest picker by a long way, so I doubt it'll make much difference to how quickly the grapes are picked, but (in short stretches) it's an interesting thing to try.

Next challenge: actually making this into wine.

posted at: 04:00 | path: /wine/oenology_diploma | permanent link to this entry

Tue, 16 Feb 2010

Waiting for Grapes

The first exciting installment of the semester. We've all gone down to the university's vineyards, and seen the grapes available. My group has three rows of Syrah and half a row of Mourvèdre.

It's been pretty hot in Adelaide this summer, so they're already ready in terms of pH, titratable acidity and brix/baumé (sugar levels). Sadly, they're not yet ready in terms of taste, they still taste green.

It's becoming an increasing problem in Australia with the hot weather, and the only solution seems to be to wait until they achieve full physiological ripeness and then acidifying to make up for any lack of acid.

In any case, we'll have to pick soon, as the weather starts to get hot from Friday, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday predicted to be 37°C, and Monday 38°C. Pre-cooked grapes is not what we want.

posted at: 13:23 | path: /wine/oenology_diploma | permanent link to this entry

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