Is the 2011 vintage a repeat of 2010? In many respects, yes. The 2011 season started off cool and moist. The moisture is not of concern at that time of year, but the cool weather slows the growing cycle so everything starts later. By time the vines started to bud, it was almost May! And while growth began, it was very slow as the weather continued to be cool.
May and June also continued to be cool while the rest of the country melted with record high heat. Bloom and fruit set were therefore later than average, 5 weeks late in fact. This would make the vintage look more like 1997 rather than 2010. In fact, at the end of June, we had only 4 days that hit 70 degrees or above. As a result, bloom took place the first week of July. The good news is that due to the late bloom and fruit set, the weather was very conducive for both. Both took place over a short window, about 5 days, and the fruit set was even and big. We are excited to see how beautiful the clusters are in size and shape.
Since that time we have had near normal temperatures, mid 80′s, and our normal cool nights, 50 to 55. It has been great growing conditions for the vines and the grapes, and they look very healthy. We will be cutting more fruit off than normal because we have more fruit on the vines to start and because we want a little less fruit on the vines to push to ripening. It wouldn’t hurt to get a few days here and there for temperatures in the 90s just to help move things along a little faster.
As always, it is about the weather.
More to come.