Just a short note today as harvest takes up most of my time currently. Ah, the challenges of this time of year. This year, however, seems to be extremely trying with the cool temperatures and lack of sunshine overall. While acids have been fantastic, sugars have been less than stellar. Now I’m not one to completely hang my hat on sugar but I know when people have problems getting white zinfandel ripe that we’re in for a troublesome year. We have started harvesting in Alexander Valley but it’s mainly Sauvignon Blanc at this point. We’re still waiting on our Carneros Pinot Noir and the vast majority of the Chardonnay.
The problem arises when you receive a Brix report and the Chardonnay and the Merlot are almost equal. I’m predicting that the fruit will all ripen in the span of a few weeks this year and it’s going to be a problem to find tank space for it all. I still think we’re going to see better flavors earlier and at lower sugars but the fight for tank space, pending rain (keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t show up), and possible frost as November approaches. Two of the three harvests that I worked on the east coast ended with frost and that is a real possibility this year with the nights already going down in to the mid 40s.
This is the time of year when everyone scours the weather reports looking for signs of trouble. There is a 10% chance of rain this Saturday and the Farmer’s Almanac says it’s going to be one of the coldest winters on record this year. If these things will come to pass, who knows? However winemakers and vineyard managers have to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst this year.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I still love this time of year. It’s the possibilities of the harvest combined with the change of seasons and the cooler weather. It’s only a few weeks until pumpkins and gourds show up in the stores to be made into pies and seasonal soups. This is Fall and hectic as it is, it is fantastic!