It was a year ago today that the earth shook at 3:15 am and I turned to my husband and said “That’s it! I’m ready to go home now.” After seeing twitter light up over a 4.3 or so quake in Oakland last week I’m reminded to be grateful that I’m on much more stable ground this harvest in more ways than one.
At the first of last year’s harvest posts, I was musing that I may need to add a week 0 to the round of posts and this year I definitely would have needed that week as much of California got off to a fast start at the end of July for one of the earliest harvests on record. (Unfortunately I am unable to link last year’s week 1 post since it has been deleted some how…) This was largely due to a very warm January and February which led to an early bud break. This has been another drought year and the fires have been terrible this year. I hope that the rumors of it not impacting the vineyards have been true. Having lived through selling the 2008 wines of Alexander Valley, I know it can be problematic. I have heard rumors of 25 and 26 Brix Cabernet Sauvignon in some areas meaning that everything is coming ripe (at least sugar wise) around the same time. I shutter to think about the amount of water which will go into the fruit this year to try to tame the rapidly climbing brix.
Meanwhile, back in New York…
Cabernet Franc on Keuka Lake
After one of the coldest winters on record which included snow on Easter this year, we are getting back on track after a season which has spent much of the year behind. We saw 7-8 inches of rain in June with only 8 days in the entire month without rain. We are accustomed to rain here but that was pretty intense. One grower stated that he didn’t get a chance to get off the tractor on the clear days when he could get into the vineyards. The good news is that the growers out here are used to the wet stuff and I have seen very little mildew issues. The remainder of the summer has been lovely. We’ve flirted with 90 a few days this month but the majority have been a very nice 75-85 range for the highs and most nights are cool enough for the windows to stay open. We are still waiting for veraison in Cabernet Franc but Lemberger (aka Blaufrankish to the rest of the world) was turning about 2 weeks ago. Most of the vinfera fruit will be ready to harvest in October and we won’t get started with Natives and Hybrids until the end of this month. While California is looking at another harvest spread over 3 months, I’m enjoying the last days of summer and looking forward to smelling the first fall mornings sometime next month.
A friend’s Riesling vineyard overlooking Cayuga Lake
I’m also frantically trying to get my Visa for China and can’t wait to see what that harvest will be like. Hopefully it will oblige with a late September harvest which will put me back in New York just in time for the vinifera varieties to be harvested.
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