We’ve never been accused of lacking patience. After all, we actually believe that neither worry nor fretting is constructive. The first few days of 2005 put that to a test however, as we harvest fruit in fits-and-starts.
Over the last ten days rain and light showers have given us just short of two inches of rain, with largely cool temperatures. We have brought some fruit in slightly before full flavors are achieved to curtail compromised fruit health on ripe and vulnerable sites, but with excellent numbers and pleasant results in fermentor. Reduced sugars and pHs over past vintages are very positive, with excellent color extraction and surprisingly clean fruit condition sweetening the decisions to harvest even more.
We are still holding much of our harvest in the vineyard, because it is in great physical condition and because it has much to gain with longer hangtime, so long as dry and moderately warm conditions return. The coming week should reward this patience, based on weather forecasts, saying goodbye to misty conditions and hello to seventies and shortsleeves. A later than recently normal harvest (on this date in 2003 and 2004 we had 95% and 84% of final totals already harvested, compared to 31% of projected totals for this year) should get into high gear by mid-to-late week.
Pinot gris and Stoller Vineyards Pinot noir constitute pickings to-date. Colors look great, alcohols should finally return to sane, cool climate levels, and grace should replace Sumo-sized wines from warmer years. With cooperation from Ma Nature over the next two weeks, this could be a fine to fantastic vintage.
A little rain late Saturday and a breezy overcast day Sunday in preparation for five or six dry days, if the forecast is to be believed.
Cool sixties temperatures will rise to low seventies this week and encourage us to let almost ripe fruit to hang just a little bit longer for late week picks.