It is the day before the autumnal equinox and I haven’t picked grape one. A week ago I was sweating bullets over this, in spite of it being cold outside–in fact because it was cold outside. I have been mostly tweeting it up from the vineyard this year, but it is time to make a more permanent record here in the blog.
2011 is a cold, late vintage
A week ago it was clear we were at least a month behind what I would think of as normal. In the middle of September I had LOTS of green berries in every variety at the Estate vineyard. Terrifying, truth be told. Today was a better day. I spent a couple of hours leaf thinning in the Pinot with the crew this morning and checking ripeness by taste. Normally I would not leaf thin in the fruit zone at our vineyard, but this is not a normal year.
We are having a very welcome–and long overdue–heat spell and it really has moved things along. Compared to last week, the crop looks much better colored and more uniform. Also, with the leaf thinning we can see much more of it. This is the Haynes Vineyard Selection block of Pinot above, showing a decent set and moderate consistency of color cluster to cluster. With the increase in uniformity, the potential yield looks more like over a ton per acre, rather than the utterly dismal prediction I was making last month of under 0.5 t/ac. Below is the Clone 777 Pinot block; I’m estimating the yield at less than in the HVS block but still respectable. The weather forecast yesterday called for rain Sunday-Monday as a deep trough (over 4 std. devs. from the mean!) was progged to tap sub-tropical moisture from a Pacific typhoon and sweep across our region. It was with great relief that I woke this morning to a forecast of a stronger high pressure ridge persisting and driving the rain probabilities north of us. Hoping for more of same.