“The birds and the bees know when the grapes are ripe,” says Clos des Amis winemaker Bruce Freeman.
It’s 9am on a warm late August morning, and we’re knee deep in thickly trunked Zinfandel wherein large dark clusters of grapes hide bees with a few yellow jackets for good measure. The birds are out too, mostly mourning doves cooing like a daytime owl and acorn woodpeckers making a ruckus.
I’ve asked a silly question: if we’d picked the week before, would the bees be so bad? Would they have taken so much fruit?
Wouldn’t matter, says Bruce.
When the brix is right, the bees know it and they’re right there too ready for the harvest. They snuggle their little fuzzy butts right in there, humping the seeds to get the juicy, seed pulp, leaving hollow hulls and seeds behind.