Grape Growing in 2022

This post is difficult, I thought I would write about this year’s vintage as we progress through the season. Therein lies the problem, there is not a lot of progress this season. We are currently 30 days behind 2012 season at this time, and slightly behind 2011 as far as the vines are concerned. It has been cold and wet. In 2011, one of our Crianza vintages; we harvested on Halloween!

Cold wet vintages yield late harvests, high acid, low sugar content fruit, along with lots O’ powdery mildew issues (nail biting for winemakers). They also can be award winning vintages that yield light to medium bodied wines full of bright fruit and acidic glory. That then help for good pairings burst forth with gorgeous deliciousness… well, sorry that was me trying to get motivated on what will be a challenging vintage for sure.

I do not mean to denigrate this style of winemaking. Burgundy, France lives this lifestyle of winemaking almost every year. Williamette valley winemakers travel to warm tropical places on vacation for a reason, there must be balance in life if sanity is to prevail upon those poor souls that grow grapes in regions such as these. There is my complaint. I thought my location was far enough south to avoid these seasons and high enough in altitude to get the cold nights needed for the acid and fruit of fine wine. As they say, the best laid plans always have a way of equalizing the misery for all. So, I’ll stop complaining, and get down to my plan for this season, by letting you, the readers in on my plans I’m sure to have a great blog post in the future of how my plans were wrong!

Shoot thinning is starting now even though the shoots are very small, we have some freeze damage from our wonderful freezing night and snow that fell on May 8. That event setting the tone, I will be dropping a lot of fruit at veraison and possibly some at fruit set to ensure great ripeness, hopefully to avoid harvest while the Goblins prowl. I also plan on being very diligent on leaf thinning early to maximize airflow and control mildew if things stay wet. There is the plan, stated in writing for all to see when things vary from my crystal ball outlook. We may have another vintage like 2013, where it all looked like cold and wet at this point in the season. Then, the east wind and heat kicked up in September/October made for some very spicy wines with some raisins in the must, in which all made more pronounced if I over thin the fruit…. Get the picture of how tough the plan can be!

Maybe I’m thinking about this all wrong, maybe I should just chill out, live though this vintage like a vintage true winemaker should and let the vines make the wine they know how to make and try not to screw it up in the winery!

I’m sure you all will enjoy my rants while sitting in the tasting room, eating a fine Charcuterie plate, sipping your favorite wine and thinking of what a dream life it is to look out at the view and relax from your day-to-day challenges. Maybe I should keep all these vintage challenges to myself, and not burst the fantasy of living the life of a winemaker!