Weekly Wine Quiz: Brix By Brix?

Vinted on April 20, 2012 binned in wine quiz

Welcome to the Weekly Wine Quiz!

Based on feedback from ever-so-vocal-and-intelligent peeps like you, I do not supply the quiz answer directly in the post – you will need to tune back in later in the comments section for the answer. Blah, blah, blah – you know all this already…

Continuing our current theme of quizzing your smarties on the topic of winemaking, we’re about to hit you up with some difficult-to-pronounce, scientific stuff, so get the beakers and hot plates ready:

Brix By Brix?

Winemakers and grape growers often use sugar ripeness to help determine when grapes are ready to roll for picking and making wine. What scale is used to measure sugar ripeness in the vineyard?

  •     A. Baumé
  •     B. Oechsle
  •     C. KMW
  •     D. Brix
  •     E. All of the above

Cheers – and good luck!





  • masi3v

    All of the above since those pesky germanic folk have to be different.

    • 1WineDude

      masi3v – ha!

  • Jim Nordaker

    I had never heard of anything but brix so I did a little investigative work and sure enough it is all of the above. Subtle question Joe.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Jim – glad we got you to do some fun homework. :)

  • Amy Clark Seroter

    Since it appears the answer is clear, will you tell us how they differ?

    • 1WineDude

      Amy – all will be revealed later, yes. :)

  • grapesrgreat

    Definitely E: All of the above, Baume' is French right? And Oechsle is just he last 2 (or 3) digits of the specific gravity (which as a homebrewer and winemaker I like better).

  • Silvinapal

    All of above, the names vary by country.

  • Anatoli

    Joe, I have to admit that I had to do some reading only to confirm my initial inclination "E, all of the above":) Cheers!

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, all!

  • 1WineDude

    And here is your Wine Quiz Answer:

    E. All of the above

    Confusingly, a common standard for measuring grape sugar ripeness across the winemaking world has not yet been achieved. The U.S. and Australia have largely adopted Brix, in France the Baumé is used, and Germany and Austria favor the Oechsle and KMW. Like Fahrenheit and Centigrade scales for temperature, the different sugar ripeness scales can be converted to one another (and all of them to what they're designed to primarily do, which is estimate a finished wine's potential alcohol percentage).

  • gabe

    This year in the Willamette Valley, we had a very cool vintage, and BRIX were at an all-time low. We harvested as late as possible, with the last batch of pinot noir being harvested November 2nd…the first time we've ever harvested in November. Despite the low sugars (and the low alcohol levels that are sure to follow), this years pinot noir was dark, tannic, and intense.

    My point in all of this is to say: while sugar levels are the standard numeric factor for deciding when to harvest, I'm starting to question this philosophy. Tasting grapes is the best way to decide when to harvest, and the only method that is universal worldwide.

    • 1WineDude

      Gabe – you're not alone. I know of a few producers (1 of them quite large and well-established) who've moved to grape tasting instead of Brix measurement to make those decisions.

  • Alkesku

    I think All is the right thing..cheers

    • 1WineDude

      Alkesku – cheater! ;-)

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