We have veraison!!! (grapes turn from green to red)
What does that mean:
– I have to finish any final preparations to the vineyard before the nets go up in 3 weeks…drop week canes, final sprays, leafing, etc.
– With the light crop I have this year, looks like harvest will be the end of Aug.
– I need to bottle my 2014 Pinot Noir to free up space for the 2015!!!
BTW, my new harvest estimate is:
– 3 tons Pinot Noir
– 250 lbs Merlot
– 180 lbs Sauvignon Blanc
Where did the year go? I know I’m getting older but it seems like I just finished making wine from 2014.
We have about 2 weeks until the nets go up and we have a lot of work to do. Last week we started thinning some fruit that I didn’t think would ripen in time and we will finish that in a few days. Next, we will do a second pass to ensure the right amount of leaves have been removed to enhance the flavor of the grapes. We also will tuck the vines in the wires one more time and spray with potassium bicarbonate to hopefully eliminate the possibility of bunch rot. Then the nets go up and we stress the vines by reducing the water and hopefully mid September we have almost 4 tons of Pinot noir.
As soon as veraison is complete, I will take a pH reading on the grapes to see if the improvements we made last year helped to make the grapes more acidic. Let’s hope as it will make wine making much easier.
We went to a great deal of effort and expense to orient our vineyard 42 degrees from North/South. Why…do try and get the same amount of sunshine on the grapes evening morning and evening.
But is that enough? No…from earlier posts we thinned the shoots to balance the vine. Now, to add to our “subtraction makes good wine”, we need to remove leaves. Again, why? If you keep all the leaves then you will have herbaceous tasting wine, probably mold on the vines since the spray can’t get to the clusters and it will increase the anthrocyanin levels (taste). But you can’t take to much off or you could sunburn the grapes later in the year. In Russian River Valley, we normally take more leaves off on the morning side (above picture) and keep more on the afternoon side (below picture). You do this after the grapes are BB size to build up their tolerance to the sun.
Another complicating factor is that some varieties want more leaf removal. Pinot has very thin skin, so you can’t take to much off. Sauvignon Blanc is more tolerant so you will probably see most of the leaves removed.
Last year was our first harvest, so the plants were not very vigorous so leafing was very easy. This year…I have to think hard on which ones to take and which to keep. Won’t know until the heat of the season if I took to much.