Oregon’s 2010 Harvest is an object lesson in patience, focus and “all things come to those who wait.” Oh, yeah, and birds!
Here is a synopsis of the year:
· three week early bud break scaring us because delicate grapes like Pinot Noir shouldn’t be harvested the end of August, in the heat;
· no worries, because a cool, wet spring ensued, putting leaf growth in suspension and delaying bloom to where we were no longer potentially 3 weeks early, but 2 1/2 to 3 weeks late!
· the growing season then continued to be cool, not catching up any of the delayed harvest potential, accumulating the lowest number of heat units I’ve seen (see table).
· and NOW, with three weeks of Indian Summer behind us and several more days ahead of nice weather, we potentially have a fantastic vintage in the offing, with low sugars and alcohols for balance, perfect long, slow ripening for finesse and cool harvest conditions for retained acidity.
An exciting novel storyline, but anxiety prone for those who haven’t been through it before. We have, from almost identical in 1993 and 1999, to somewhat similar as in 2008.
We began Harvest 2010 in earnest yesterday, picking Pinot Gris from Stoller, continuing today at Stoller and bringing in our first Pinot Noir from Corral Creek.
Harvest will continue apace, as many blocks have begun developing mature flavors and acids have begun coming into range.
Thank you Indian Summer!
Weather So Far and Today
This is perfect ripening weather. Over the last two plus weeks and at least until this weekend, we have had 60s to low 70s highs, thirty degree swings to low 40 degree lows, and sunshine.
We normally need rain to help the plant move nutrients around prior to final ripening, with an inch or so being appropriate. We had a little more than that in the September 15-October 15 period, with 2 3/4 inches. Some botrytis in the valley came from this with people who were not prepared with inhibitory sprays. We saw no damage.
We historically begin to harvest Pinot Noir the last week of September, but this year’s first pick of Pinot is today, October 19th! A good hangtime and good flavors accordingly are expected. Rain over this coming weekend will be interesting as far as duration and amount, but much of our crop will come off at Stoller, Corral Creek and Wind Ridge before then. The rest is very healthy and can take some moisture–you know, helps the complexion!
The rain and temperatures are of little interest for harvest, however, since almost all fruit has come inside, only Riesling, which likes late October-early November harvesting and moisture for botrytis, and a single block each of Pinot noir and Chardonnay remaining for additional hangtime. This is out of 55 total blocks of fruit in the various vineyards.