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Vineyard Questions: Backyard Vines

D. Genasci (southern Oregon) asks: “I am harvesting Pinot Noir and am getting rather strange readings — 22 °Brix, pH of 3.4 and acid at 0.25. The grapes are grown on gravelly (basalt) clay and irrigated. The vines are showing a small amount of water stress. The leaves are green but not growing. The soil has been nutritionally balanced through soil additives, compost and foliar spray twice per season. The temperatures here in southern Oregon averages approximately 86 °F (30 °C) during the growing season, but the night-time lows are in the high 40s to low 50s (9 to 11 °C) because we are on the edge of a large river. This is a new vineyard and it is the second year that the acid has been low.” Wes responds: Pinot Noir is my specialty, so hopefully we can figure out what’s going on here. Harvesting ripe Pinot Noir at 3.4 pH seems perfectly fine to me, but the 22 degrees Brix implies to me that the flavors will not be rich, fruity and spicy. To me, 22 Brix is