2013: Early Vintage Report
One thing you can be certain of as a farmer and winemaker: no two years are the same. The 2013 vintage is no exception.
It is raining in wine country as I write this. Who knows how this will affect the vintage. Will mildew and botrytis rear their ugly heads? I sprayed for both just before the rain to mitigate the risks at OGV, but at my other vineyards, I can't be sure.
Only last week when I began to think about how the vintage was shaping up, I was hesitant to say things were looking fantastic. As a farmer I have learned a pessimist is just an optimist with experience! Bud break was later than usual, possibly because I pruned a bit later this year. I always use the lunar calendar as a reference for selecting the days to prune, and this year the ideal dates were in January or mid-March. I went with the later dates, which usually slows the appearance of first shoots.
Once spring finally arrived and the delicate shoots appeared, the pace of growth was quite rapid. Flowering was not marred by rain and we had perfect set at Olivet Grange. My optimism is further fueled by a complete lack of shatter this year. Shatter is when bunches are incomplete because not all of the berries were pollinated. The young bunches at OGV are near perfect at this stage of the growing season. As things stand now we are about 10 days ahead of normal so we might be looking at a slightly earlier harvest.
However, for now, we will have to wait and see how these rains will affect the 2013 vintage.