Here we are, harvest in full swing and we are likely to be finished in the next two to three weeks. A warm winter, early spring and a few heat spikes lead us to be 100+ days after flowering. We have picked for sparkling wines and this week for rose and grapes for clients who revel in red fruit flavors and higher acidity. Since when are we in tune with Napa? Crazy, and yet it caught no one by surprise. If you want to know if global warming is real, talk to farmers. We live and die by the weather and advanced planning for years to come is a common topic.
A tiny recent dose of rain was quite welcome in the vineyard. In the garden, not so much. The aphids are getting out of hand again. On the other hand, the heat has given us the mother of all squashes. The soon to be famous Alloro hybrid giant bred by Thomas Houseman is at the base of a mountain of squash vine taking over the yard.
The 2016 vintage is the 3rd year in a row that is allowing us to pick grapes before they get over ripe rather than racing to beat the fall rains with barely ripe fruit. Bottling decisions were reworked to accommodate fruit arrival and vacations were taken early. That said, it is a luxury to have ripe fruit in any stage of ripeness we want. All options are open and I suspect we will have an amazing array of wines from the valley this year. It’s amazing to have awesome grapes for rose and ripe pinot noir at my disposal.
I decided on a sparkling project this year. The juice of 1 and 1/4 tons of Pommard blanc de noir is slowly fermenting. It was pressed hard enough to get a hint of color but just a hint. By the time it is ready to drink there will be dozens of sparklers to sample from a multitude of wineries. Sparkling wine as a yearly offering from most of us is overdue in the valley and using the Alsace as a model I hope it takes off.
We grafted 1 acre of chardonnay in 3 clones over 1 acre of 114 pinot noir. The take of vines was excellent but no appreciable fruit this year. What to do with an acre of chardonnay in years to come? So many choices, all delicious. The resurgence of Oregon Chardonnay is near and dear to my heart. Drinking Eyrie’s Chardonnays over the last 33 years has inspired and humbled me. Time to grow my own fruit and make this wine the stuff of legends. It takes me years to make these decisions and then I’m impatient for the end results once I pull the trigger.
We are enjoying the premature change in seasons, mourning the end of summer, and looking forward to fall. Another growing season come and almost gone. Where did the time go?
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