Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day (like November).

Severe rain all day yesterday! Our first major storm of the season brought us anywhere from 2.5 to 5 inches, depending on where in the valley. Merryvale's estate vineyard in St. Helena had just under 4 inches.

Even though our ecosystem and watershed need the water, most wineries would have preferred if the rain came in November. Fortunately, Merryvale has the majority of our fruit already harvested and in the winery. We only have approximately 10% of our grapes still ripening on the vines, and it is mostly well-drained hillside Cabernet. All of our estate vineyards have been completely harvested, and we just finished harvesting our St. Helena Estate vineyard on Monday with the final pick of Petit Verdot.

Driving around this morning, I stopped at a few of the blocks where we have grapes remaining on the vines. Although there is some standing water on the vines, the weather is forecasted to clear up, and they will dry out. Brix may have decreased slightly, but the few blocks I tasted still had nice flavors and concentration.

The rain would be an issue only for vineyards where the fruit is already damaged, and then the water would cause rot and mold to form, or for vineyards that have yellowing leaves and will not see much additional maturation despite the forecast for sunny weather.

Tomorrow, we will sample all of our remaining blocks to determine if Brix have decreased, and to confirm or postpone any remaining scheduled picks. The majority of the fruit will be harvested Friday, Saturday, and into next week.

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