As I type this latest edition to my blog, it’s raining outside – not cats and dogs, just slightly sprinkling. That said, even the slightest precipitation can seem like a torrential down pour, and quite detrimental, to some . . .
Just as oxygen is a wine’s enemy during aging (for the most part), rain is a grape’s potential enemy during harvest. Depending upon timing, rain can be a good thing during the growing season – vines need water for growth, and most will either get it via irrigation or rainfall.
That said, rain is NOT a good thing during the harvesting season. Rain can lead to mold on the grapes, and is especially detrimental to white varieties (thinner skins) as well as thin skinned reds. It can also be very detrimental to varieties that have very tight clusters, and to those plants that are holding a lot of crop.
I am fortunate this year –at least I hope I am (-: I have already brought in all of my white varieties (Grenache Blanc and Gewurztraminer) as well as the first of my red lots (Camp 4 Grenache and round 1 of Larner Syrah). My whites are pretty much finished fermenting and the two red lots are currently cold soaking, waiting to be inoculated next week.
All other grapes I have still hanging are going to be okay I believe. Though it is raining, we are expecting high 80 degree temperatures immediately following the rain, which is certainly a good thing. In addition, the rain has been accompanied by a decent amount of wind, which helps minimize water accumulation on and around the clusters, diminishing the chance of mold/rot buildup. And the national weather service is calling for continued warm temperatures, and no more rain, for the foreseeable future. And since the rain has not been too heavy, the water will hopefully help vitalize the vines and give them a little more ‘steam’ to keep rolling along – and keep my grapes maturing for the next few weeks!
What does this mean? What is the bottom line here? Only Mother Nature knows for sure . . . but it appears that harvest here at tercero will continue well through October and into November – and even possibly beyond Thanksgiving (and Christie’s birthday . . .) . . .