Grape Harvest, NorCal

Well another week of ups and downs in the wine trade. The 3 days of expected 90 degree weather turned into 5 days of heat, and the sugar levels in the grapes soared. Happy days were here again, but then the weather report called for a chance of rain showers, and the mood turned to doom and gloom. The rain showers never materialized, and wine makers and vineyard owners were all happy again. This is really hard on the nervous system, ya know?
We are really getting slammed, and are getting fewer vineyard samples in the lab, but more cellar samples. Lots of 10 - 12 hour days, trying to get the grapes in as fast as we can make space for them. We need nitrogen levels on the juice, because ammonia, and alpha amino acids are the basic nutrients of the yeast. Sugar determines their ripeness. Potassium determines weather the vines are going dormant. Volatile acidity (vinegar) determines how well the wine is being treated. Malic acid tells stability. These and other measurements are needed for the wine, and to cover our own asses.
I am, more or less, in charge of the lab on Sundays. The lab director is half my age, and if he wasn't so awesome, it would be humiliating. This Sunday was my first time with my new Sunday partner, a Spanish/Biology major at the University of Nevada Reno. No one told me that she was a hot-shot with a pipette, and I was trying to ease her in to the flow of the lab. She did her first test to intimidating perfection. I still did a 12 hour day. We'll do better next time.
And so it goes.
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Billy wrote: ...

good thing. can't let those young whipper-snappers get away with everything. kids these days...

hang in there.
songbird
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