It’s Tuesday morning, September 14th, in heavy fog at Baconbrook although I can see in the distance maybe a little sun on those hills over to the west [Spring Mountain]. The vineyard looks in great shape. The bunches and berries are very firm. I just did a sugar and actually, it’s dropped a little bit. We’re at about 21.8 [degrees Brix]. I tested the vineyard on the east side. Vines look in great shape; bunches are really tight; berries are tight; seeds are just starting to turn brown.
I’ve also taken some photos which I will forward to you also.
So all-in-all it’s certainly an interesting year. We’re supposed to get in to the 80s today but there’s actually a chance of rain over the weekend. So, right now Baconbrook looks excellent for producing great wine, let’s just hope the weather stays with us.
Here’s the actual lab numbers from 9/14:
Location Brix Ph TA
East Block 21.1 3.30 7.1
West Block 20.7 3.33 6.7
Winemaker Cary Gott walked our Butterdragon Hill vineyard yesterday. Here is a transcript of his recorded memo:
It’s Monday morning about 10 o’clock. The drippers are on in the 337 Cabernet. The grapes are starting to get some very nice flavors to them. Later this week I’ll do some sugars but it’s amazing that there’s just virtually no sunburn. The grapes just look in great shape. Obviously were a long ways away from harvest but they’re healthy and happy. So, Butterdragon from a winemaker’s point of view looks great.
This shows just how small our Baconbrook vineyard is AND that I still remember how to handcode HTML tables. Amazing.
Cary Gott did some walking yesterday:
I walked Butterdragon this am to see how the vines did over the hot weekend.
There still is very little sunburn. Green seeds. Grapes is great shape.
A simple sugar test in the [clone] 337 got a 19.5º brix.
We still have a long way to go.
Lets hope the weather stays normal, whatever that means in an odd year like this.
The eastern block showed almost no sunburn. The western block was in good shape overall but did show more sunburn and stressed vines than in the eastern block (or in all of Butterdragon which was relatively unaffected). Why the difference in the western block? The obvious answer is the rows on the western block get more intense afternoon sun but that doesn’t tell the whole story. As I’ve mentioned before, we don’t have access to as much water as we would like up at Baconbrook. (We’re currently buying two truckloads of water a week.) There isn’t enough water to irrigate the whole vineyard in one day. The eastern block was irrigated the couple of days before the heat wave. The western was irrigated during the heat wave. The irrigation before the heat storm prepared the eastern vines for the coming heat.
Check out the image gallery below to see the good, the bad, and the ugly.
By the way, it’s hot again in Napa and the forecast is for it to be in the high 90s for a couple of days followed by an extended mild period.
After this week’s heat spike, a lot of Napa Valley vineyards experienced significant sunburn of their fruit.
It looks like we came through relatively unscathed. Quoting Cary:
Just walked Butterdragon and there is almost NO sunburn. This is as bad as it gets. This is less than 1%.
Lots of vineyards have plenty of burn.
As you can see, veraison is in full swing. Some clusters are showing almost 100% color change and others have barely started. Within the next week or two, after we feel like we’re at mostly 100%, we’ll go through and drop the clusters that are still green or partially green.
More vigor here as expected. We’ve removed a lot of leaves from around the clusters to promote even ripening and airflow. It’s been a cool summer with almost daily fog hanging around until midmorning.