More and more vineyards have been hitting peak ripeness around Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Picks from our estate in Oakville, Kick Ranch, Stagecoach, and our first block from the historic Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard have been the highlights this week. Kirk is busy visiting the numerous vineyards that still have grapes hanging on the vine. After many years of honing his craft, he can tell if the clusters are ready to come off the vine just by tasting a grape. However, he still measures the brix levels (concentration of sugars within a solution) for scientific reassurance, but he is never wrong.
To measure the Brix level in the vineyard, Kirk brings a spectrometer. This is a handheld instrument with a refracting lens. Grape juice is applied to a slide, and when you hold the spectrometer up to the sunlight and look through the lens, the light coming through the juice is refracted against a visible scale inside the viewing lens showing the exact brix level.