Thursday, July 19, 2012

Weather Update in Our Vineyard

Mid-July is generally quiet from a viticultural perspective (at least from what we can observe) but the last two weeks are worth mentioning. This week we had two days that topped out at 72, which is a record low for those dates. A deep marine layer embedded itself here which made the air feel moist enough to drink. In contrast, during the previous week we tried to get all of our outdoor work done before noon because the temperature breached 100 (109 on July 10th!) for three straight days.

While the temperature swing itself probably will have little if any specific impact on this year’s harvest, it’s worth noting to illustrate the challenges that all farmers face.

The brief heat spell, for example, meant that we had to ensure that the vines were adequately hydrated well before the mercury began its ascent. Water stress can be a tool to quality-minded grape growers, but too much stress will kill the plants.

The low temperatures per se were not especially harrowing for the vine, but they did nothing to promote maturation. Plus, the low temp and high humidity increased the threat of powdery mildew infection and growth, keeping us on our toes and reminding us to shorten our spray interval. Now that we’re biodynamic, we must be extra vigilant against powdery mildew and other unwanted visitors.

We are still on track to normalcy phenologically, meaning the average temperature this year is closer to the 10-year average than the previous three years and the vines are advancing on pace. We will soon see some color in the reds and sugar accumulation in the reds and whites, as the vines begin to devote their energy to the fruit.

In the midst of all the weather happenings, we bottled a great new value blend in screw cap called appropriately, MAYHEM, which is an easy drinking everyday red wine, easier to open and pour. Our MAYHEM helped us muse on the last couple weeks.

Jeremy Weintraub,
Winemaker & Farmer

1 comment:

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