It is already February and all of the Italian variety vines have been pruned except Nebbiolo. We prune the Nebbiolo last because it breaks bud and comes out early and is very susceptible to frost. Late pruning delays the bud push.
This has been a cold, wet spring but we avoided frost on the new growth. Now we are hoping for some heat and no more rain. The grapes are trying to bloom and they are dragging behind, which could make for problems later.
The grape crop is behind in our area and all over the state, around 15-25 days behind schedule. A very cool spring can be blamed. Our recent weather has been on the warmer side but not enough to catch up. Our Italian grapes are progressing well.
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.
Grapevines are growing faster than we can get the work done. The growth of our vines has already exceded last year’s full growth and we still have 60 days until harvest. Farming is controlled by Mother Nature.
As always, I blame Mother Nature! A very short winter followed by a warm spring puts us about three weeks ahead of schedule. Most of the varieties look very good. Unusual heat hurt the fruit set in some of our Sangiovese and Syrah, but overall I am very pleased at this point. Harvest in 80 days.
Last year’s 2013 vintage looks to be one of the better vintages. The wines are showing much promise. It always helps to have perfect growing and weather conditions during harvest. Varieties like Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Sangiovese, which cannot tolerate wet weather, were picked at optimal levels thanks to the beautiful fall. Next year we will get our first chance to visit this vintage.