September 26, 2007

“It’s too early to be freaking out”

So says a winemaking friend, and I can’t help but agree. Even if I’m freaking out, a little.

Lately in the northern Willamette Valley, the weather has been cooler than normal but often sunny and pretty much dry. Apparently great weather for ripening grapes.

But wouldn’t you know it, all that’s supposed to change in a big way over the next week to ten days.

People have been talking about damaging rain since last week, after reports from places like the Weather Cafe. I wanted to believe the long range forecast was really just a guess. Nope. Some changes have occurred regarding timing and amounts of rain. But it still looks bad for next week.

For now, lots of picking is going in vineyards that are ready to go. Some too in vineyards that might not be ready. It’s hard to look at the forecast and not pick grapes that are so close to wonderful, if not quite there yet.

At the Wahle vineyard, where I’m again expecting a half ton of Pinot Noir, I’m looking to roll the dice and wait out the rain. The grapes I tasted the other day while walking the vineyard didn’t taste quite ready to me. The clusters largely look in great shape. Skins a bit thick and firm. I’m thinking they’ll hold up well, provided there’s sun and dry on the other side of even a number of rainy or showery days.

After all, this is Oregon and it’s not even October. The forecast is grim, but it’s way too early to be freaking out.


No comments: