Refractometers are vital to the successful operation of any vineyard, large or small. Even the individual who may just have a few vines in his/her backyard should strongly consider getting a refractometer of their own. Their value in helping you to determine when to pick your grapes makes them essential for anyone who plans to make their own wine.
Refractometers have come down in price in recent years as well, making them more affordable for an individual to own. The refractometer we offer today cost only $79.95. Ten years ago you would have paid over $200.
You may be asking yourself, what is it exactly that refractometers do any? Simply put, refractometers measure the percentage of sugar that is in the grape juice. The scale it does this with is call brix. For example, a brix reading of 20 would mean the grape juice is 20% sugar.
By monitoring your grapes’ brix level as they mature and become sweeter, you can then determine if it is time to pick yet. For more information on using refractometers to determine when to pick, you may want to take a look at the following blog post that covers the use of refractometers in a harvest situation, Picking When To Pick… The Winemaker’s First Decision.
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.