There is so much to talk about from the past few weeks while my family and I have been relocating across the country! I decided to break them down into small bites…
Bite 1: Arsenic Anyone?
I really don’t want to give this story any more time than it takes for me to acknowledge it however Alder Yarrow from Vinography.com did an amazing post telling you why exactly you shouldn’t be worried about this and instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, please read his post here.
Bite 2: WE’RE HERE!!!!!
We arrived into the beautiful and chilly state of New York last weekend and are now settling into our new house. Currently one entire room is devoted to unpacked, empty boxes but once those get hauled away tomorrow we should be in fairly good shape as far as moving in is concerned.
I started my new job last week and while it is a dramatic change from Robert Mondavi, it should present a good challenge. Back in January, we closed on 12 acres on the shores of Seneca lake and I went out that day to put “Posted” signs up. Upon our return last weekend all but 1 of the 6 signs were torn down. I’m hoping it is just a combination of wind and extreme cold but I can’t help but be worried that the former owner of a nice deer stand on our land may have had something to do with it. Our goal is to clear much of the land this summer once the soil dries out some from all the snow this winter. That way we can start to see where our future house and vineyards will go! We are very excited about this new phase of our lives.
Bite 3: Vintage 2015 Update
New York: It’s cold. It has been VERY, VERY cold this winter. I’m a little concerned that we may not have many grapes to make wine with from the western side of the state. Even though we got another 3 inches of snow this morning, signs of spring are everywhere. Those 3 inches were mostly melted away by mid afternoon. Robins are showing up and Canadian Geese can be heard flying overhead, heading North. Maybe we’ll be close to budbreak around the middle of May.
Napa: Budbreak is everywhere and frost season is in full swing according to a friend of mine. There has still been very little rain so the area is poised for a 3rd consecutive drought season. Again, I wouldn’t want the be the grower that has to choose between protecting what crop they may have this year and saving water so that they can ripen that crop.
Those are the bites for the week! Happy growing season everyone!
It’s been pouring this weekend! Everyone has been extremely excited but also with that much rain at one time comes additional problems such as trees falling over the roads and flooding. I don’t hear too much complaining though. At this point in the season, it sounds like we have enough water to make it through this year. The upper Napa River is flowing swiftly and is very full.
We are also less than 2 weeks away from bud break. The vines are weeping fairly strongly at this point (at least the ones in my back yard are) which is a sure sign that bud break is right around the corner. It seems to be tracking right along with the past two years so we might be in for another early harvested year depending on what the weather pattern does this summer.
Spring has definitely sprung in Napa! The mustard is in full bloom and the Robins are flocking to the area.
My daffodils are coming up and are 1 week out from full bloom there as well. We still need more water but we are sitting in pretty good shape for the season right now
The end is near. Well the end of this harvest anyway. I has been the earliest harvest I have ever experienced. It has also been a very strange one with the rain during flowering, drought, earthquake, hail, more rain, heat, and this week even more rain which should put a cap on a very eventful harvest. We received our last Chardonnay on last Friday. We will receive our last fruit of the season this coming Friday making the earliest harvest I have ever experienced also the earliest ending harvest I have ever experienced.
Some of our earliest Pinot Noir picks are finished with ML and being SO2ed this week. Among them is a very special lot of wine which I am still amazed that I had a hand in. The fruit was from one of our Pinot Noir Reserve growers. It was a earlier pick than the winery would traditionally have gone for however it is something for Pinot that I believe is important. We hand harvested it at 24 Brix then allowed it to ferment using the yeasts coming in with the fruit in an open top fermenter. The resulting wine is beautiful. Every now and then as a winemaker you stand back and realize that you’ve helped create something truly special and Genevieve and I both feel that this tiny lot, only 350 gallons, is special even amongst our other Reserve lots which are pretty incredible if you look at their qualities independently. We may be bottling it separately to make sure that it can be enjoyed by more than just us but only time will tell. It’s been an amazing year for Pinot Noir and I’ve been fortunate to have been a part of it.
This will conclude my weekly harvest coverage. Usually I go all the way through to week 14 but this year just doesn’t warrant it. Next Monday I will be back to my usual blog topics. Once again, if there are any interesting winemaking topics that anyone wants more information on feel free to leave me a comment and let me know what you want to read about.