Vineyard Diary (updated 8-5-07)

Veraison in now in full swing as expected, with 100% veraison evident in both the barbera and primitivo vineyards.  We know we’ve previously cited other times of year as the most beautiful in the vineyard, so we won’t contradict ourselves now.  However, the home stretch toward harvest (prior to raisining and bird gorging) has got to be right up there, with the full bunches of dark blue berries hanging on still-green vines.  Given the early ripening, we began our bird control measures early this year, and as usual we think they were effective for at least 2 days.

We finished a complete pass through the main vineyard to drop fruit last month, the first time that we have ever completed this in July, thanks to the use of some supplementary labor.  We consider fruit-dropping–which was in the 40-50% range—to be the single most important thing we can do maximize quality, besides preventing powdery mildew, eliminating bunch rot, controlling weeds, eradicating gophers, prevention of dehydration, avoiding over-hydration, stopping marauding birds, keeping deer away, and avoiding half a dozen possible nutrient deficiencies.  Come to think of it, it’s a wonder that we harvest any grapes at all.

We are excited at the prospect of harvesting our first grapes from our 3-year-old trellised vineyard of 5 different Portugese varietal grapes typically blended in port-style wines, but interesting in their own right and as blenders for more common varietals.  The grapes will be harvested in separate lots as the individual varietals reach maturity, allowing us to vinify them separately and learn about their unique characteristics. 

We expect to begin posting grape chemistries from our main vineyard shortly so that our clients can follow the ripening process and begin to anticipate harvest dates.