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It’s September! The month of the Autumnal Equinox which brings the first day of autumn. Critters are hustling and bustling as they stock up for the coming winter. September is the time when youth are back in school and entire households settle into a hectic schedule of activities that demand time and energy.

For me, one of the best elements of September is the full moon that cloaks vineyards in luminosity. It is referred to as the harvest moon. And indeed, it is harvest time for farmers and grape growers alike. Depending upon how the weather has been, grapes are harvested any time from late July to as late as November in the Northern Hemisphere and usually February to April in the Southern Hemisphere. When precisely to harvest is determined by the ripeness of the grapes measured by sugar content (brix), tannin levels, and, these days, pH levels. It also matters how the grapes will be used. If the weather has cooperated, some grapes may be left to hang until the first freeze and be turned into that luscious amber liquid called ice wine.

Harvest time is crucial for wineries. Vineyard managers and winemakers will begin closely checking grapes for ripeness at least a month before anticipated harvest. These experienced eyes, hands, and taste buds will be watching, feeling and tasting the grapes for signs of readiness.

To read this and other premium articles in their entirety, pickup the September 2017 issue of Julien’s Journal magazine. Click to subscribe for convenient delivery by mail, or call (563) 557-1914. Single issues are also available in print at area newsstands and digitally via the Issuu platform.

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John B. Donovan
John, now retired, will continue to write about wine and craft beer. He now has more time to enjoy both beverages and plans to visit more places that grow grapes and produce wine with an occasional brewery along the way.

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