Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mutinous Mother Nature

It’s a real nail-biter, this 2011 harvest. Or as assistant winemaker Joe says, it’s “one year that Mother Nature is not cooperating.”

The sun has come out this afternoon, and it’s almost as though the breeze that left with the rain this morning was a collective sigh of relief from winemakers throughout the Valley. It has been raining for over a week with a tease-of-a short, sunny respite this past weekend. Most of the grapes simply aren’t quite ripe yet, so it’s a gamble as to when to bring fruit in. Wait and hope the right weather comes to ripen fruit to its potential, and risk rain that’s unrelenting? Or play it safe and bring in now what you’ve already got? The fruit is not as concentrated and scrumptious as anyone would like, but picking now would pre-empt the potentially major loss of yield that would occur if these damp grapes continue to get no love from the sun and start to mold.

Luckily for us and for our wine (and it’s no accident), Sara is a unique, dynamic blend of an optimist and a perfectionist. She’s also this awesome combo of serious scientist, positive energy force, and sensory-sensitive sweetheart with super smarts, sass, and a proclivity to fun. Anyway, she believes the weather will change, that the fruit will ripen beautifully, and that the wine will be delicious as always. And she won’t settle for anything less. “We’re taking the risk!” she says. “To ensure the best quality of fruit. With ripe tannins and good sugars and all the other delicious things. Mmm…” She pauses, smiling with an excited glint in her eye. Then she continues seriously, “It will just mean an action-packed couple of weeks of harvest, as we have fewer days than ever before to process all of our fruit.” But I can’t think of anything more rewarding than busting your boots with a group of people for a common goal. I’ll be out there tomorrow!

In the vineyard, the crew is busy opening the vines’ canopy, or removing leaves to concentrate the plant’s energy into ripening the fruit.

And this afternoon is turning out to be a bright blue beauty, so nail-bitten fingers crossed it stays. It’s amazing how quickly a little direct sunlight evaporates the melancholy ennui of a week of rain. Let’s hope it does the same for the grapes’ moistened skins!

Peju Sycamores with Sunshine
Clouds for a Daydream
We are indeed.

by Britt Starr for Peju Province Winery
from 10.11.11

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