Vintage 2019 has been a great season so far.
Mother-Nature has cooperated and given us some great, grape-growing weather!
As we turn our sights to the finish line, “Crush,” there are still a few decisions left to make.
What critical decisions, need to be made in the vineyards, aimed at creating the best outcome for a successful harvest?
Wine grapes need to be stressed, in order to produce a high-quality wine; however, there is a delicate balance when dealing with a stressed vine.
Too much crop load, can affect the vines ability to ripen its crop in a timely matter.
Too little of a crop and the vine turns that energy into its canopy growth and second crop.
Second crop is, an inferior grape cluster that forms outside the fruit zone and is high up in the canopy.
This unwanted growth, can result in an unbalanced fruit ripening in the plant; and as a consequence, result in inferior grapes.
Crop thinning is an art!
One of the decisions being made is; how much crop to leave on each vine?
The standard being;
Sounds simple enough, until one adds the caveat regarding the removal of fruit that is clumped together, and assessing the overall health of the total vine, to see if it can handle the fruit load.
Another example, is with cane-pruned vineyards;
the crotch by the trunk, tends to be crowded with fruit, that may need to be thinned out.
Cane pruning and spur pruning are two different ways to train a grapevine to grow along a trellis. Pruning is necessary to remove dead wood and to cut back on the amount of living wood, so the grape plant's energy can go into making grapes, rather than just growing vegetation.
Another decision, will be based on weather and irrigation.
Adding irrigation or not, (for the perfect grape), at this time of year, takes a good amount of thought to get it right.
One of the last decisions to be made is, when to harvest.
Hopefully Autumn will provide us with plenty of hang time, and cool weather without the chance of rain, so we can harvest a crop, that has ripened to the amount of brix (sugar) and the perfect PH (acid).
Over the next month, these decisions will be discussed and debated by the viticulturist and the wine-makers, to ensure a balanced crop, which equals high quality grapes.
If all goes as planned,
“Vintage 2019” will definitely be worth the wait.