Well, a few posts ago I promised I would show you...all 3 of you that read this... :) how to test sugar in grapes to test their readiness for harvest. Well, guess what we did tonight. Tested 2 of the 3 properties. Was testing for sugar anything like I thought it was?...no. Simple, yes but a totally different process than I thought. I thought it was some sort of thing that you poked into a grape and tested it's sugar, but boy did I assume wrong. But I'm glad I finally learned the right way.
So here goes. (I apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures. I hardly ever carry my good camera with me, so my phone has do all the work. With bad lighting pictures are way sub-par)
First, you start with the refractometer.
Pretty fancy looking, huh? Nothing like I had expected.
Now, when testing sugar, you don't want to test your boarder rows because it won't give you an accurate reading. Rule of thumb is to go 10 rows in from the edge and then 10 vines in from the beginning of the row. Chris wanted an average, so he walked down a row about 8 rows in and selected 1-2 grapes from several bunches in one row. Picking smaller ones, larger ones, lighter green & darker green. He put them in a baggie and smashed them up, making them into a mush with plenty of juice.
See the baggie is Chris's left had? He is pouring a small amount of juice onto that slanted glass plate, the part that is pointing towards the camera, on the bottom. Once the glass plate is covered in grape juice, he puts the plastic flap down and the reading begins.
The refractometer kind of reminds me of a kaleidoscope. You know how you look through one end of it and point it at the light and see all those cool shapes and colors. Well, this was far from seeing cool shapes and colors, but I still love learning about how all of this is done. You look through the eyepiece on the other end and there is a vertical line with a bunch of numbers on it. Ranging from zero to maybe 40 or so, maybe higher, I didn't pay that close of attention.
ANYWAYS, you look through it like this...
and you see something that is similar to this
|Source is here|
See the faint shaded area at the top? You read where the bottom of that hits, so this one is reading a 24 1/2 to 25. At our home place tonight, the reading was right at 19. Which is higher than Chris was expecting, so that is a great thing! When you pick, you want the sugar to average around 22 or a little above, so we don't have very much farther to go. He is thinking about another 10 days or so, then I can show you the picking and drying process. I know, you can hardly contain your excitement.
Well, I told you that as soon as I learned how to do this, I would show you. I hope you learned something new today, just like I did.
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