Sunrise on the hilltop to take samples. Walking one row from each candidate parcel, we pick grapes according to procedure – half blind – so we aren’t biased to choose only the pretty ones and skew the results. Back in the kitchen we squeeze the juice into small bottles and rush off to the lab; we’re eager to see the probable alcohol level as well as acidity so we can choose harvest day. It has been a complicated year, but a warm, dry August and September are bringing a richer, more concentrated fruit than we had dared hope for. And indeed, by the end of the day the results show our sugar level is high and the acidity level has dropped nicely (indicating maturity). Back in the vineyard near sunset, we meet our partners and agree to a date. Thursday October 4th.