Mark this year as rare! It looks as if all the elements are coming together to produce truly memorable wines. Look for the release party next summer.
- This historic vintage began with a return to normal: cool temperatures — fortunately not frigid — during the pruning season. A single week-long super freeze at the beginning of March actually became our source for the blessing of cold stabilization for the 2015 barrel and tank wines (see Advantage Michigan story on our website). Then winter started to peter out, and pruning began in very comfortable conditions for workers and vines.
- Crews completed pruning the first week of May, and bud break started the second week. Matt and crew collected cuttings to strategically pile around the vineyards to burn in case of freeze during tender bud break. One freeze danger warning May 17 sent me to the vineyards at 4:30 a.m. to burn if temperatures dropped below 34°. Our topographies and locations paid off. At Crain Hill Vineyard it never dropped below 40; Cedar Lake 41 and Timberlee 38. Noted fruit growing areas just north of us recorded a low of 28°. Indeed, we are in a grand cru site!
- Spring, Summer and Fall were about as good as it gets for ripening. The best degree-day recording for this new century was in 2005, and 2016 ended 5% warmer according to the weather data depot. The crew practiced a new leaf removal technique in early cluster development in all the red grape blocks based on research done by Paolo Sabbatini and Annemiek Schilder (see link)
- Our perfect soils, hand care, attention to detail, boutique processes and combining the best of ancient traditional viticulture with proven modern techniques is why we get great wines in good years and truly historic wines in great years. 2016 promises to be historic!