Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Round Pond Harvest Update 2.0

After patiently waiting nearly all of September, the commencement of harvest finally arrived on Wednesday of last week. Sauvignon Blanc picking and pressing is in full swing and I am thrilled to report that the quality looks very good this year. As most of you know, shatter was a big factor in the size of the crop this vintage and Sauvignon Blanc was particularly hard hit. Early estimates pegged the damage at fifty percent reduction, but after harvesting the first two blocks it looks like the crop load was affected to a slightly lesser degree.

One of the challenges that we have encountered this year has been to bring the canopy and crop load into balance. Sauvignon Blanc has a naturally vigorous vegetative growth habit and when combined with the deep heavy soils where the vines are planted, the crop size can be prolific. Because of the shatter the natural balance between leaf surface area and crop load was thrown askew. Too many leaves and not enough fruit causes sugars to accumulate quicker than flavors. To mitigate this we hedged the vines early and often to remove actively growing shoot tips and control the overall number of leaves.
The cool growing season delayed the commencement of harvest by twenty six days. However, this late season heat spell kicked the pace of ripening up a few notches and Sauvignon Blanc throughout the valley is being picked at a furious pace to keep sugars and flavors in an appropriate range. Round Pond’s trellis set-up has allowed us to weather this heat with minimal detrimental impact to the fruit. The fruiting zone is well protected by the canopy so that sunburn does not occur. The flavor intensity in the fruit is exceptional and the multiple picks should allow for a very expressive and complex wine. I am hoping to wrap things up early this week for the Estate Sauvignon Blanc; the Reserve fruit should come in shortly there after.

Until the next installment...

Brian Brown
Round Pond Estate

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