My first observation of the crop is that we do have an ample supply of grapes, not too many but we’re not in short supply either. The next time of most concern is when grapes begin to flower and there we’re hopeful for some warm days and plentiful sun.
A warm spring has really pushed our grapevines and we’re already seeing bloom. With the good winter rains, vines really look healthy, vigorous, and have great color. Our recent heat spell has pushed us even further, although the latest forecast is for a cooling trend and potential showers. It’s all part of farming!
Yesterday I was driving around the vineyards - spring has sprung. Pinot Grigio and Nebbiolo vines have at least 6-8 inches of growth already and the rest of the varieties are not far behind. We had a wet winter and with spring comes wind, sun, and a remote chance of frost. A few nights ago, I had a 34.6°F reading in a couple of our vineyards.
We are very thankful for the rains received. The original forecast was for a quite dry winter. Our area is still considered to be one of the few slightly drought stricken areas, but the improvement has been remarkable
Having farmer mentality, I would like to start with the weather report. The saying “When it rains, it pours!” describes winter so far. We have already reached thirteen inches of rain, which is our yearly average for most of our vineyards. Our vines are in good position with plenty of water in the soil, which means we won’t have to irrigate until June and we will be finished by late July.
This time of the year, the vineyard is very dormant. Leaves have all fallen with the aid of some of the cold weather that we’ve had. We are busy pruning, praying for rain, and taking a good look at the nutritional needs of the vineyard. There is always something to do.
We finished the 2016 harvest the day we left for the cruise. This year, we had plenty of grapes of exceptional quality. We had a few challenges during harvest that were heat related but we survived thanks to the canopies on our vines. Our Italian varieties were exceptional. I was really impressed with the Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. For something new, we picked Pinot Grigio for Sparkling Wine, something to look forward to. For this, our last shipment of the year, we have selected wines for the coming holidays.
We just started with the second week of harvest and we are getting our pickers fine tuned. Father John Finley gave us all a blessing, which was badly needed and enjoyed by all! Growing grapes and making wine has a lot to do with the wonders of nature. Sometimes a little bit of divine guidance makes it work.
Harvest is in the air. It has been a very good growing season. Our crop looks to be twice the size of what we saw in 2015. A good chance to break even! There were some issues with water but we have had enough to make the crop. Last year our Pinot Grigio crop was almost non-existent. This year, I would say it is back to normal.
We’ve had two major heat spells and made it through without any major issues in the vineyard or with water shortages. Last Friday I saw my first sign of veraison - a little black berry showed up on a bunch at the High 9 Vineyard. It means that we’re at about 40 days to harvest. So I pushed the panic button! We have wine that still needs to be bottled and Dan still needs to put on the finishing touches in the vineyard.