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How Cooper Garrod Estate Vineyards Test Their Berries for Harvest

We had the pleasure to have Bill Cooper, of Cooper Garrod Winery, come to our last Home Vintners Association meeting on June 5, 2011. Bill described their winery operation as his fathers “retirement project that had gotten out of hand” but that he and his cousin Jan Garrod enjoy running it and the especially the wine they produce. He offered tips for the garage winemakers present and answered alot of questions. One surprise to all was the importance of testing for available nitrogen before fermentation, to determine how much yeast nutrient to add.  He also left the following useful handout about sensory berry analysis that he uses.​

For more information about Cooper Garrod, please visit their website, at www.cgv.com.

ICV Berry Sampling Technique

According to the ICV, the first and most important component of berry sensory analysis is random berry selection. Paradoxically, the random task begins with a fixed idea.

Select two vineyard rows in advance for each variety and then walk the entire length of each row, passing the first 5 vines; point at a post or trellis spot (any spot as long as it is not a cluster); reach out and remove the cluster that is closet to the selected point. The process is repeated until 20 clusters have been chosen from each row (10 right and 10 left) and five berries representing the top, bottom, and center are removed from each cluster and placed in a plastic bag. In the rows, three berries are randomly pulled from the bag and tasted, first for pulp ripeness, then for skin maceration (chew 15 times) followed by seed analysis. Impressions scored on a 4-point scale are recorded on the ICV Berry Sensory Analysis Synthetic Score Sheet.

In the lab, five berries are randomly pulled from the plastic bag. Following the score sheet, in-depth tactile and taste impression of the pulp, skin, and seeds are scored on a 4-point scale. The even numbered scoring system ingeniously forces an evaluation up or down rather than gravitating to the middle ground, which seems to be the natural tendency. If there were a 5-point scale, the majority of scores would likely be 3.

Read more of the article at the Wines and Vines site here.

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You can download the Berry Sensory Scoresheets by downloading the pdf file here.
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