September 29, 2011

End of the growing season

The winegrape harvest in the northern Willamette Valley is so close. In a normal year, I would be picking pinot noir from lower elevation warmer sites. This year we are still weeks away, with doom on the horizon.

Portland, where I am, saw delightful autumn weather today. A cool morning, then sunny skies with temperatures in the low 80s for a while in the afternoon. September has been warmer than July, just when we needed it after such a cold season. Vineyards have really been progressing this month. If things could hang on, you're thinking this could be classic.

Until you see the forecast. Cold, windy and rainy. Perhaps epic amounts of precipitation. Or maybe it's just the usual soaking here and there, with dry times in between, bad but now awful. Either way, tough.

Which makes me think of harvest 2005. The calendar is the same this year as 2005, and Thursday the 29th, 2005, was the last in a string of lovely days. The next three days saw two inches of rain in Portland, ushering in a month of on and off again rain and maybe two days at 70F or higher in October.

The moral of story. Oh my god. No, seriously, October can be cold and wet. We just need to deal with it, especially in what has been exceptionally cold and wet growing season. We just need to pick low brix, high acid pinot noir and make great wine, like people do elsewhere in the world with the same situations. I'm kind of excited about it. [what I don't want is rot and mold from rain and generally damp conditions. We'll see about that.]

So, it's going to be a long two weeks before I think we might start picking at one of our sites. The other two will be another week at least. What a late and, now, possibly wet harvest. All you can do now is watch the skies.


Pilar said...

Sounds like a touch of superior autobiographical memory about harvest 2005.
And, yes, look to the skies.

Anonymous said...

Clatu Barrada Nicto - that will stop the rain and to boot the end of the world. ;)