Oregon 2010 Vintage
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 12 2010 - 12:00 am
Since we just planted our vineyard this past May, we still have three to four years before we will let our vines produce fruit to make wine. All grape clusters will be removed in the Spring so the vines concentrate on developing their root systems rather than ripening their fruit.
The vines themselves have done well over the past six months. They are healthy and we haven't seen a lot of vine mortality. For a new vineyard, all the late Spring and early Summer rain was a blessing, since like most vineyards in Oregon, we do not irrigate our farm. All watering over the summer was done by hand, with the whole family helping out. Tanks, 275 gallons in capacity, were filled from our well and the water delivered by gravity flow and a hose to all 4500 vines individually. It's quite the undertaking, especially when temperatures are in the 90's.
As we look back over the 2010 growing season, we see the challenges other producing vineyards in our area have had to overcome. Budbreak came early and was then stalled by a month of cold and rain. This even caused the planting of our own vineyard to be delayed by two months, as the mud on our property was insurmountable. Beautiful weather in May finally arrived only to be overshadowed by the wettest June on record and the coldest summer in seventeen years.
The heavy rain in June did affect fruit set. Clusters are on average about 30 grams lighter than usual, with overall grape tonnage per acre down as well. With some recent rain, the weather is definitly on the minds of winemakers and growers throughout the valley. Rain increases disease pressure, making grape skins thin and susceptible to mold. However, today was a beautiful, sun-filled day...just what the vines needed. A late harvest in the Willamette Valley means it is one with great potential.
With the long growing season, flavor development in the grapes is there, even with the lower sugars we are seeing. These flavors along with lower alcohol levels and lower extractions can make beautifully balanced wines, reminiscent of the 2008 vintage. We can't wait to see how they turn out.
As we head into Fall, our vineyard will begin to shut down, going dormant for the winter. The cover crop must be planted in the next couple of weeks and new rock laid on the roads to deal with winter's mud. We have already begun our Spring planning for the vineyard trellis system to be installed.
We remain stewards of our land with a collective passion for growing fruit and making wine in a sustainable manner. For us, and many Oregon farmers, sustainability is both a priority and a way of life.