The most common question that we’ve been asked this season is, “How did the grapes respond to the weird weather we had this spring?” As you can see from this photo of Pinot Gris, we have a crop, and a good one at that. The grape vines were slower to respond to the warm weather than the cherry trees for example. Where the cherry trees budded out early, the grape vines waited a little longer until the threat of frost had passed. Smart little buggers……… this year. But in 2003 for example, we had little to no grape harvest from frost kill early in the season. Needless to say, we lucked out this year, and for that we are grateful.
After we narrowly escaped the freaky spring weather, we had great rains through late spring and early summer, which facilitated healthy vine growth. By mid-summer, however, the rains dried up. The yellow leaves on these two-year-old vines indicate drought stress.
These little Gewürztraminer and Pinot Blanc vines are struggling the most because their roots aren’t established enough to tap into water deep in the soil. We are not too worried yet, but we could certainly use some rain.
So now, as of late August, we have prepared the vineyard for late season ripening. The vines are tucked into the trellis and hedged. The fruit is exposed to the air and the sun helping to prevent rot and promote sugar development. Now, we wait. Shown below are Riesling vines, which ripen late in the growing season and are one of the last varieties picked. We can probably expect to pick these grapes in mid to late October.