It could be that I am easily amazed. Maybe I am, but I will say this: I am simply amazed at the growth we have seen in the vineyard this year. We have had lots of help trying to keep up. This year, we have more vines in the ground than ever before [as you would expect when you add a few each year…] plus we have ‘adopted’ a couple of additional acres about 10 miles from us. Between the two places, there is ~6.5 acres under vine, with ~5.5 of those acres producing fruit.
This year, we will get fruit from four different vineyards: our vineyard; the two acres mentioned above; Spring Branch Vineyard, our Chambourcin source from the beginning of this adventure, and the fruit source for our Gratitude; and Moon Lake Vineyards. We are so excited about all of this fruit. What we see in our vineyard is some really nice looking fruit. I visited with our friends at Moon Lake in early July; they made me feel like one of the family. I knew that Wendy took good care of her vineyard, but seeing the work there was awesome. As we walked through the vines, everything I remembered about their place was reaffirmed. I have not been able to get up to Spring Branch this year, but Mary and David do an amazing job with their vineyard too. Wendy, Kelvin, Mary and David do beautiful work in their respective vineyards; we can only hope to give similar stewardship to our little place.
Part of my amazement comes from what we have seen with the weather this year. Wow. Last blog post, I said we were 15″ above normal rainfall. As of this writing, we are 20″ above normal! Not only is that a lot of water relative to the time of year, that is ~3″ more rain than we normally get in an entire calendar year! That is an incredible amount of water. Keeping up with vegetative growth in the vines has been a monumental task. I really do not know how our friends at the other vineyards have done what they have done without help, because we have sure had to have lots of extra hands helping us this year. And we are just now getting caught up.
My prediction for veraison [the onset of ripening] was off too. It has been much cooler this year than 2011 or 2012. We are 272 Growing Degree Days [GDD] behind 2012 and 315 GDD behind 2011. Practically, that means things that happened 1 July 2012 will happen around 11 July 2013, so we really should be right on top of veraison. And harvest is a short six to eight weeks after veraison.