Life has been hectic for me as well as the wine country.  At the time the grapes were way behind schedule and the growers and vintners were hoping for a good late summer.  That weekend we got 3 days of >100 degrees, all records.  The last day we saw a temperature swing of over 50 degrees and over >20 degrees of that was from 2:00pm until before sunset.  Ahh, the wonders of the SF Bay weather.  The result of the heat was a disaster for the grape crops.  Canopies had been trimmed way back to let in sun to aid in ripening during the cool year and ward off powdery mildew.  The heat wave literally gave the grapes sunburn and cooked them where they hung.  Crop damage ranged from 5 to 50% depending on location and grape type.  Since then we are back well below normal and we again pray for high but not hot temps.

What does this mean?  Well the grapes are still behind schedule and harvest is just starting.  Most of harvest is complete by mid October in an average year and the farmers are hard pressed to see how that will happen this year.  The dreaded RAIN word has even been mentioned for this weekend.  Even if it is small it would just be more salt to the wounds.  Obviously, the later the harvest goes the more the chance for serious rain problems.  If we were talking about average to slightly below average harvest (tonnage) a few weeks ago I have to believe the forecast is less today, though I have no official word. 

I heard of another problem also raising its head, which it does on occasion.  Storage issues.  With a compressed crush, I guess there is a question where the later picked fruit will go.  Typically there is more time to get the juice crushed and to the right storage.  I need to learn more about this.  The last time I recall this problem it was an early harvest following a huge year, so many vintners hadn’t moved the wine to bottles due to timing and simple old demand.

It sure is a tough year to be in the wine business.

FWIW, I opened a 1991 Cain Five last weekend and it was still fabulous.  I still have a few good bottles left in the cellar.


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