Vineyard Diary 9-2-20

The last few weeks have brought the inevitable and usually unavoidable high heat of late summer in the Foothills, with an absolutely brutal stretch of 105-110 F days a couple weeks ago that made the temperature readings in the 90s after they abated feel like cool fall weather. In fact, that wasn’t the beginning of fall, but just a reprieve before the next string of 100 F plus days forecast over Labor Day weekend and extending an unknown period into the future. Temperatures have moderated of late a few degrees compliments of a variable haze–not smoky-smelling, but hazy– from distant wild fires burning all over the state right now. Fortunately, there have been none nearby to date.

In the vineyard, the fact that we are actively managing only some of our vineyard blocks has allowed us to divert finite irrigation water to the actively managed blocks and get through this hot period so far. Our Primitivo and the first wave of our Barbera in particular will need to be nursed through this period until their harvest in about 10 days. We’ve reached full veraison in all of the grapes at this point, and our small planting of white muscat grapes is already harvested. Bird pressure has been modest this year; the roll out of nets is something our house cats look forward to every year, and their patrolling of the nets for song birds caught within results in a lot of feathers getting left at our doorstep, and happy cats. It also seems to temper birds’ interest in the grapes.

We have a little more time to prep before what is likely to be a rapid succession of harvests beginning with the Barbera and Primtivo, followed by our Quinta block, and finishing with our non-Quinta touriga, possibly all in September. We do have quantities of all but the Quinta still available for sale, and the wait to harvest will not be long now. Hopefully the grapes, and in particular the wines made from them, can be something positive we can look back on from 2020…