Seriously, we are good. Last year was a drought year for the Finger Lakes but this year has been one of the wettest on record. Upstate NY had the wettest March and April ever on record according to National Weather data. Just in the past 30 days over 10 inches have fallen. For the last 90 days we are between 8-12 inches above our normal average.
So you see that little purple blob in the middle of the map? That is where I live. The Grey at the top is Lake Ontario and this is the highly pixelated view of rainfall as a departure from normal for Western NY. What does this mean? Very little sun and LOTS of water. The rivers are overflowing. Lake Ontario is 28 inches above its long term average even after record outflows are being sent into the St. Lawrence seaway. The massive flooding of roads and new water ponds in fields brings to mind that once, well before the glaciers carved out this amazing terrain, this area was covered with a massive in-land sea. Flash flood warnings are a nearly daily occurrence. That high level of moisture results in intensely humid days similar to the ones I grew up with in the deep south. The growers have to be totally on their game to keep the fruit clean. Downy Mildew is having a field day in vineyards which have been caught unaware. Luckily, the fruit that I work with looks clean so far. The fruit is still green and hasn’t even thought about veraison yet so the vintage can still be saved.
Flash flood warnings are a nearly daily occurrence. That high level of moisture results in intensely humid days similar to the ones I grew up with in the deep south.
I’m putting in my August weather order now. We need sun and heat and no more rain. The vines have plenty of water reserves to draw from and are growing like weeds. Hedging is a must but that can end up compounding the issues because of lateral shoot formation which further closes the canopy. Closed canopies can lead to further fungal infections and it all just becomes a vicious cycle. Closed canopies can also have an effect on next year’s harvest due to high levels of shading on the buds. I hope this fate is one which most if not all growers can avoid.
In the winery, we are a little less than a month from starting harvest for the hybrid whites. We are trying to make room in the tanks and making sure we have plenty of harvest supplies. I placed an order for more barrels today, having just located another fun red variety to add to the 240 Days line up. What is it? You’ll have to wait and see!