Vineyard Update 7-31-06

As July comes to an end, the return of normal summer temperatures seems almost like autumn when contrasted to the blast furnace that was the prior two weeks…we remember again why we live here!  Veraison in the primitivo vineyard is now broadly underway, and as expected the barbera has started veraison in the last several days.   Fruit dropping to meet yield targets is now happening in earnest in the barbera vineyard, whereas the more severe winter pruning and the natural ability of primitivo to better self-regulate yield leaves us with with less work to do in that vineyard.  Further fine-tuning of the harvest windows may be possible by the next update.

Vineyard Update 7/23/06

Scratch what we said a week ago about seasonable weather…it’s been a little hotter than seasonable and will continue to be so in the near future.  This is shaping up as the warmest summer since 2002 at Shaker Ridge.   A combination of the continued hot weather, light crop load, and a natural tendency to ripen early has apparently led to the beginnings of veraison in the primitivo vineyard.  This is at least a week earlier than last year, despite a much later budburst than last year, and has led us to move up our predicted harvest window for primitivo by 1-2 weeks.  Although there is no sign of veraison yet in the barbera vineyard, we expect it to follow suit, and we have accordingly moved up our expected harvest window for that varietal by a similar amount of time.

July Vineyard Update 7-15-06

After a blazing hot period in late June, we have settled in to a typical Foothills summer pattern with very warm days and cool nights.  Training of the lateral cordons in our new port vineyard is completed and shoot growth is good, suggesting that we will be able to get our first taste of the Portugese varietals selected next season.  In the main vineyard, the vines remain healthy but experienced some water stress during the hottest period.  The berries continue to enlarge and secondary fruit has formed.  We are beginning the process of dropping fruit ahead of veraison to hit yield targets.