Veraison, the onset of ripening, is upon us. I was out of town most of this week, but tonight, I spent some time in the vines. When I left earlier in the week, there was no color in the fruit, but tonight, the Sangiovese is starting to show a bit of the red. To me, this is one of the most exciting times of the growing season, just behind bud break and harvest. This is when the ripening color hints at the flavor to come, and we begin to anticipate the potential nuances of a new year’s harvest of wine.
During this season, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. We stay covered up with work, and never seem to get ‘caught up.’ Actually, I feel as if the vineyard has been ahead of us all year. And yet, that is not a complaint. It very well may be that while my body is exhausted most days, my heart and soul are at peace. Sure, I worry about the weather and the work. Just like many of you, I am trying to find a balance between all of the pieces of my world that make demands of my time.
Farming is one of those vocations for which passion is a requirement. It also requires more than a small amount of resilience, the ability to laugh at one’s mistakes and failures, and the ability to know that not every variable is under your control. In farming, I would argue, very few things are under your control, most variables are outside of your control.
Recently, I read a piece from Mike Rowe, you know the guy from mikeroweWORKS, Dirty Jobs fame. I find him to be inspiring, honest, well-reasoned, [dare I say] with common sense that so frequently seems to be less common these days. In response to a fan’s question about having passion for one’s job, he said, “Passion is too important to be without, but too fickle to be guided by. Which is why I’m more inclined to say, “Don’t Follow Your Passion, But Always Bring it With You.””
If the weather continues to be dry and warm, this year’s fruit may very well be the best fruit we have grown so far. This year, through 31 July, is the warmest we have seen since I began tracking heat accumulation and other data in 2009. We are at 2293.5 Growing Degree Days [GDD base 50F], which is 1 GDD greater than 2010 [the previous warmest year] and 20 GDD and 18 GDD ahead of 2012 and 2011, respectively. The other three years, 2009, 2013, and 2014, are our three coolest years by a fair margin of between 267.5 GDD and 386.5 GDD. I am excited to see what the next eight to ten weeks have in store because I am passionate about working with these grapes to create wines to enjoy.