When I last talked about how vintage 2011 was going in the NorthCoast was in bloom and the weather was truly dismal indeed! Now after several weeks of beautiful, warm, sunny weather our outlook on the vintage is beginning to lift. The rain during bloom did impact the crop levels negatively. So far I’ve heard that Chardonnay and Pinot have been the hardest hit however it seems that it is highly dependant on site as I’ve also talked to growers who say that their Chardonnay has set normally. Our Malbec looks spotty at Asti but that’s not terribly unusual for Malbec here even during ideal weather. The rest of the red wine varieties seem to have set a normal sized crop however my seedless table grape set looks pretty shabby. As this is my first foray into table grape growing, I’m not sure if it’s normal or not. The warm weather is a good sign though because the smaller crop will ripen faster than a normal sized crop a sugar accumulates faster with less berries. If this weather continues we may have somewhat of a normal harvest season for the whites specifically. Already we’re warmer than we were at this point last year with several 100+ days under our belts on the North Coast. This is also a good sign as it gives the grapes time to acclimate to hot temperatures which will avoid the “blanched” problem that we saw last year from the 3 days of 110+ late last August. With all the rain early on the disease pressure has been high. Combined with the tricky European Grapevine Moth sprays which must be timed with the flight cycles of the moth, the growers have been kept on their toes keeping the problems at bay. As for the winery, spirits are high with the continued warm weather. We’re working on testing and cleaning all the harvest equipment and anticipate seeing the first grapes through the gate around mid to late August. Our sights are set on ordering yeasts, Malolactic bacteria, and oak. We are not, as we were this time last year, staring at the sky and scratching our heads. We are reveling in the bright light, warmth, and soft breezes that the grapes needed desperately. This is also the calm before the storm in the winemaking world so I’ve taken the time to reorganize my office, dust off my clipboards, and ready everything for the coming craziness. I’m also going to be attending the Wine Bloggers Conference 2011 in Charlottesville, VA next week. I’m super excited about this because it seems that this conference will be geared to what I am which is a wine centered blog! Several great speakers and promising break out sessions should put me in a good mood to enjoy some wine with my husband and fellow bloggers! If you’re also attending be sure to come by during the White wine tasting session as I’ll be pouring the Emma Pearl 2009 Central Coast Chardonnay since we’re sponsoring part of the conference as well!
Here’s to a great season!!