We were spoiled. Spoiled by hot, hot summers and little rain. The harvests were early. The flavors were intense. We were hoping that would be the norm.
In my mind I imagined we have never seen a wet, cool, overcast, and late year like this. Looking back at my written notebook, I see that I am wrong. This year is very much like 2014. The grape sugars are almost exactly where they were 3 years ago on this date. It does seem cooler, though. I just turned the heat on in the house.
The downside of those hot, dry years is that the young vines were been growing too slowly, delaying their maturation. These young vines had no fruit last year. This year, however, they have plenty. The vines have put on so much green growth that I went though the Brianna east of the barn and trimmed much of it back. The whole block east of the barn has quite a bit of new grapes - new varieties as well as more of the Brianna. Good thing because demand continues to rise for that wine. We are down to a single bottle of the Brianna 2016 for sale.
Here is a photo of the 2017 Regent. See my previous blog entry for a size comparison with the 2017... that is my hand and the Regent grape in both photos. These berries are twice the size - at least. The bunches are larger too. I'm betting on this grape as a new varietal for producing new red wines. 50 of those new vines are grafted Regent.
Stop worrying, Mike.
Another benefit of this wet weather is that the berry sizes are larger than normal. Hopefully, that keeps the acids in check. 50 of the new Baco Noir vines that we put in the ground this spring have really grown. Some of them have already made it to the top wire on the high trellis. Larger batches of RED ONE is on the way from the - hopefully sooner than we thought.
Speaking of RED ONE, check out these grapes for the 2017...
The benefit of this delay in harvest date is that we have some time for the ongoing construction in the winery. We're reconfiguring the winery building to double the size of the winery and open a larger indoor tasting room.
Still wishing for more dry weather.
We'll start the harvest on the 16th of September this year with the Brianna. We've been plucking leaves over the green fruit to speed up the ripening there.
We bought some Brianna grapes from Rhode Island this week, and we have some Petite Pearl (red grapes) coming later in the season from the same vineyard. That vineyard is two hours to the south and has a slightly advanced schedule. Seems like very similar weather, though. Both our vineyard and theirs are about the same distance from the ocean.
I'm also coming up with the plan for what will go where in the new winery space. I'm ordering equipment - including tanks to hold more wines and more volume of existing wines.
Of course, no vintage is complete until it is all in the bottle. There are still some of the 2016 wines that we have to bottle. Especially Terneza and Dragonfly White 2016. The Dragonfly White 2015 is going fast. Down to only a few cases. Whew.
Too much to do. Stop worrying, Mike.
Sometimes I wonder if I have the energy to take on this harvest. Who am I kidding? I live for this!