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Harvest Update 2011

June 29, 2011
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Harvest Update 2011

Yesterday we received half an inch of rain. I would like to say it is unheard of to have rain in late June but it has happened once or twice before since California became a state. Given we had rain in early June too, this is shaping up to be a remarkably cool and wet spring, …I mean summer!

As I wrote in our spring new letter, “My cheeky reply to those who ask how this crazy weather is impacting the 2011 harvest, I say, I would rather die from drowning that from thirst.”

I think I still believe this.

The fruit set looks to be quite promising, except in the Grenache, which was flowering during the last rain on June 2nd and experienced “shatter”. Shatter is what happens when the flowers fail to pollinate and the resulting clusters end up with fewer berries. All the other varieties looks to have set a big crop, especially the Zin! Now with all this moisture in the ground it seems quite possible that the vines can ripen all that fruit.

However I expect we will drop much of that precious fruit. The vintage is already late and I worry that we may have early rains like we have had the last two years. Thus, I expect we will drop a pretty penny, so to speak, so that the fruit can ripen early before the onset of the fall rains.

In the mean time we need to deal with vigor. Vigor is not usually a problem given the vines are ancient and by this time of year the soil is usually dry. Dealing with vigor is a manual job. We will spend lots of money and time manipulating the canopy, removing shoots and leaves as to allow air and light on to the fruit.

And I am going to have to figure out how I am going to drive a tractor into this sea of green!

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