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Saturday, September 14, 2013

How is the harvest going so far?

Update on the 2013 wine grape harvest for Sonoma County and nearby

This is mostly second and third hand information I've heard, you know, through the grapevine.   :)

It was an early year for fruit this year because of a warm, dry spring. Not just for grapes as my own apple trees ripened weeks ahead of the norm. Bud break was about three weeks early this spring and all other major phases (such as bloom and veraison) were weeks ahead of schedule. Likewise, the harvest is ahead of the average picking dates--not the earliest ever, but one of the earliest. Things are definitely in full swing in mid-September.

So what does this mean? Winemakers look for an optimal sugar level, pH, and acids for when to pick. Some are saying the sugars are there, but the best flavor hasn't developed yet. So do you pick at the right sugar to keep the alcohol levels down or wait for the flavors to develop and pick at higher sugar levels? Many are hoping for cooler weather to keep sugars reasonable while waiting for the best flavors to come along.

Seems like 2013 won't meet the high quality and quantities of 2007 or 2012. So far quality and quantity look better than 2010 or 2011. But Mother Nature isn't done with us yet, of course.

Russian River Valley Chardonnay picked in late August