We spent an early morning in the Sta. Rita hills collecting grape samples. In the U.S., the most common unit of sugar density is Brix. Brix (symbol °B) is a scale of measurement that quantifies the total amount of soluble solids in a solution. Basically, think of it as the grams of sugar in 100 mL of grape juice. After fermentation by yeast, this gives us the amount of alcohol in the wine. There are many indicators of ripeness, but this is the easiest one to measure.
Climate change and the subsequent drought in California have advanced ripening for this growing season. We had veraison (color change) in the vineyard before July 4, and we will be bringing all our fruit in by the end of August. The earliest since the very hot year of 2004. Once more unto the breach, dear friends.