Since Thursday it has rained close to 2 inches in the Northern Willamette Valley. Sunshine is not in the forecast. Close to 2 more inches are predicted for the next 24 hours. This is it. Here we go.
In my conversations with winemakers from around the valley and with vineyard managers of other fields than our own I have heard much talk comparing this vintage to 2005 (if it stops raining soon) or 1997 (if it keeps raining). Most winemakers who have been around the block are not worried. In other parts of the valley, trucks are rapidly hauling large amounts of fruit from fields to wineries.
This is when each individual winemaker’s experience, philosophy and nerve come into play. Whatever decisions are made now will permanently affect quality. Do we pick at the cost of potential future development or an unseen break in the rain? Do we wait and risk dilution and rot from the 2-3 more rain events forecasted in the next 15 days? Do we really trust the weatherman? Do we have any more cold beer?
Here, at Bergstrom, we have harvested almost 70 tons of fruit from a predicted total of 250 tons. The fruit that has been processed so far looks promising and I think the wines will be delightful. There are, however, many vineyards’ crops sitting in the rain and not progressing. Some vineyards may not get picked by our team this year. It all depends on the weather and the disease pressure (botrytis) at this point and in the days to come.
Cold and damp days like this allow our crew to get together in the warmth of our office where we can enjoy warm home cooked meals and conversations over a glass of wine. Everybody is tired and wet and muddy. But harvest has only just begun. There are many late nights and long days to come.
Today is a small reprieve from the storms and we are picking our Wadenswil block at Shea Vineyard and our 115 Pinot Noir from Bergstrom Vineyard. The picking schedule for the next five days is clear. Nothing schedule yet. I’d like to wait and see what happens.