We’ve wrapped up the harvest in the vineyard for this vintage. My first vintage on the crush pad was 1983, 41 harvests ago!
Every vintage has been different, some radically so. This one was fairly normal. A warm Autumn started harvesting a little early and continued warm weather made it a shorter season than most in my career. I don’t mind being done before the cold arrives!
I was very pleased with the quality of this vintage. The only dark spot was losing some Zinfandel to bunch rot. We had a week of showers and warm, humid conditions in late August and again in September. Zinfandel is notorious for bunch rot, big, tight clusters, and thin skins. So no Zort this vintage but our inventory is plentiful so we shouldn’t run out if next season is good. We sold some Zinfandel to another winery that wanted it picked early for a Rosé, and they were pleased. The rejects hit the ground, Miss Piggy isn’t too picky, she doesn’t seem to mind a little vinegar in her grapes, so she hoovered them up.
Production was variable by cultivar as always. This year Riesling, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon were light crops. Sangiovese, Malbec, Xarel•lo, and Teroldego were on the heavy end of our desired spectrum. Chenin Blanc, Semillon, and Lemberger were right in our target range. Instead of being in the middle of the harvest schedule, Sangiovese was our last cultivar to harvest. The fermenters smell wonderful! We will have everything pressed by the end of this week and I am at work barreling down.
Any substandard wines from this area made this vintage will be a failure of vineyard or cellar management. I can still screw things up!
According to the EPA:
“A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest. Any substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant. Any nitrogen stabilizer.”
By this definition, a jet of water to wash aphids off your plant is a pesticide. I approve of this definition.
When I say we have 11 vintages of making wine from grapes with Zero-Pesticide use, I mean zero. None of this subterfuge of “no synthetic pesticides,” “only natural pesticides,” or “only pesticides approved by . . . .” Organic and Biodynamics both have long lists of approved pesticides. Some are highly controversial.
Except for water, pesticides are in some manner synthesized by humans. Soap? Yup, we make it. Oils? Yes, we process and refine them. An argument can be made that sulfur does naturally occur and is mined. It still gets significant processing. Throwing chunks at a vine won’t ameliorate fungus pressure!
We are very proud of the wine that we make from our grapes which are grown naturally and free of everything. Nobody wants crap in their wine, especially us. We do drink a lot of it! For research purposes, of course!