Things are moving on and the sugars are rising.  Time to test them.  Gather a selection of grapes from across the vineyard and then squash them together to get the juice.  Mix well and then apply to the end of a refractometer to get a sugar level reading.

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the refractometer.

Before you start you calibrate the refractometer with water.  When you look down the end of it you should see something like this:

Refractometer reading 0 - water.

When you apply grape juice, depending on the level of sugar (ripeness) you should get something like this:

Refractometer reading 23 brix.

For more information on refractometers, go to the Grapestompers site.

My chardonnay is at 19 brix, which is OK for this time of year.  The Pinot is at 21 which I think is a little problematic – more to do with small berries and a lack of water than genuine ripeness – because as well as the sugar, the acid has to be right too.  I think I need to start praying for some rain.