The 2010 growing season has been marked by an unusually cool and wet spring, following on a cool winter. After another inch of rain on Friday, May 28–quite late for these parts–it appears that we may finally get into a dry and warm seasonable weather pattern. Consistent weekly rainstorms in late spring like we have experienced would normally wreak havoc on our powdery mildew prevention program, but it’s been so unseasonably cool that even powdery mildew didn’t like growing, and we remain in great shape on that front. The cool weather also caused vines to push very late this season and then kept growth in check until recently. The net result of this has been to give us an extended period of pleasant temperatures to catch up with or even (perish the thought) get ahead of needed vineyard operations. Though it’s bloom time and not budburst that approximately sets the time of harvest, bloom has not yet come, so it’s pretty clear that it will be a later-than-average harvest. We have accordingly pushed back the estimated harvest dates.
On the competition front, fair season is getting underway with submissions and judging. Among the early returns, we are pleased to announce that Obscurity Cellars of Fair Play, CA earned a gold medal and “Best of Class” designation for their 2009 Primitivo Rosato in the El Dorado Fair commercial wine competition using early harvest primitivo grapes from Shaker Ridge. Winemaker John Smith successfully navigated several unexpected turns in both the grapes and winemaking to create a delicious best-in-class blush style wine. Oakstone Winery additionally took a silver medal for their 2007 primitivo and a bronze medal for their 2007 barbera, both made with Shaker Ridge grapes. All three wines are currently available for tasting and purchase at Oakstone’s tasting room in Fair Play.