We’re about giving up on the ice wine style since our winters are not providing the frigid temps that it used to but, we’re good with this. A textbook winter season to report with pruning being a smooth progress toward the finish line. It was a short skiing season for the groomed trail around the vineyard but an amazing Winter photo taken by Jerry Stutzman with Robert skiing near the vines made it in the Grand Rapids Art prize and was selected for a merit award.
Spring bud-break started again right on time (around the second week in May) with no threat of frost after bud development. Another sooner than average warm up through May and June provided us with a higher average heat score together with pleasant days for all the events which was in the recovery mood.
Fruit set was Textbook with another amazing result with the Viognier early cluster development. The Candy-Cane Pruning method works! Summer was dry and warm and, when we needed rain, it rained that night. It was almost like we had a hand on the faucet in the sky.
It was decided not to attempt to use any of the mechanical vineyard tractor attachments and go with all hand work on the vines. Ishmael’s crew were much better than the German made machines that never really worked to our liking. The vineyard never looked as good as it did in this textbook season.
Harvest began late September for the Blanc de Blancs and Rose sparkling grapes then it was full bore ahead on the whites. By late October the reds were ready and again picked with plenty of canopy and weather remaining. Picking conditions were very comfortable for the crew.
Some new experiences on the crush pad that had the cellar crew looking for some helpful tools needed if this weather becomes a pattern. The outdoor temps during the cold soak periods were warmer than ever experienced and dry ice was needed for control of the must temps. We also had an opportunity to experiment with the wild yeasts in a couple of controlled ferments. We are very excited on the results and had help from our Biochemist in saving a load of the yeast for next season.
On a role… keep knocking on that wood! TEXTBOOK!