The Five Senses
Location: Medlock Ames Winery, Healdsburg, CA
Featuring: Ames Morison and Chris James
Knowing when to harvest is the most important decision made in the vineyard each year. This was a very challenging growing season. A cold summer delayed ripening. This was followed by late summer heat spikes which caused sunburn. Both weather extremes greatly increase the risk of disease but instead of using chemicals Ames relied on organic solutions. Composting, integrated pest management, beneficial planting and animal grazing are just some of the practices which result in healthier vines and stronger grape skins where the color and tannin reside.
Ask Ames how he knows when to harvest these grapes and he says it takes ALL FIVE SENSES:
SIGHT = berries have a healthy bloom (naturally occurring waxy coating where wild yeasts live)
SMELL = the berries beautifully fragrant and “ready”!
TASTE = a good balance between sugar and acid (skins astringent, not bitter)
SOUND = seeds are brown, with a taste and “crack” when you bite
TOUCH = berries should pull off rachis with minimal effort