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…
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.
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.