We’re closing in on Harvest 2017 and so far it’s been a bit of a roller coaster- wet winter, normal budbreak, cool spring and a very hot summer. As I write, it’s 105 degrees in the vineyard and the rest of the week is shaping up to be a series of hot and hotter days.
Our winemaking collegues with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and even early Pinot Noir are all cleaning presses, organizing picking crews and canceling plans for Labor Day. Here on Diamond Mountain, the Cabernet and Cabernet Franc are just finishing veraison- when the grapes turn from green to that characteristic dark red/blue.
We’ve completed the green drop- when we leave behind any clusters that are changing color more slowly and even out the remaining crop. The results are satisfying but what we leave behind is always a bit shocking. Some say that vineyards in Napa Valley routinely leave up to 30% of the fruit on the ground- and between cluster thinning – reducing the number of clusters to 2 per shoot and the green drop, I believe it!
Another useful rule of thumb is the number of days from veraison to harvest. 35-45 days is normal and puts this years harvest sometime in the first week of October. We’re watching the very beginnings of flavor development, still very tart and tannic but definitely starting to show us their potential.
I’ll be writing the weekly updates on harvest on Diamond Mountain for the St Helena Star and Napa Valley Vintners again this year and will post a link when they start later this week.