Bud break – April 7th. About 1 week early.
Bloom – Early – 2nd week of June – 2 weeks early.
Verasion – Early – 1st week of August – 2 weeks early.
Potter’s Vineyard Estate Rosé of Pinot noir – September 5th
Potter’s Vineyard Estate Pinot noir – September 17th
Celilo Vineyards Chardonnay – September 20th
Konowac Vineyards – September 16th
Finally the hot year subsided a bit. In 2016 bloom came very early but there were lots of cool spells in the early months of shoot growth. We had an unusual heat spike followed by colder temperatures around bloom that resulted in bit later bloom and a variable fruit set. You could really see this along the north end of the rows. This led to smaller clusters. The summer weather moved the ripening along and verasion came early again (based on traditional Oregon weather). Cooler weather and bits of rain pushed the harvest back in the right direction but all of our fruit was still harvested in September.
We continued to employ strategies to reduce the nutrients that were available to the vines. We kept the grass tall between the rows – to ensure that the beneficial insects and soil microbes that live in the grass had a place to live and if future rains came during harvest the water would be taken up by the grass and not swell the grape berries. However, by not tilling every other row like we normally do each year the grass competed with the vines and slowed down the development of the vines (at least that was our theory). Like we did in 2015, we hedged the vines aggressively to reduce photosynthesis we kept the seconds (the upper clusters that the plant produces but generally will not ripen) on the plant to take up some of the excess nutrients and theoretically slow down the development of the primary clusters. We continued to thin down the crop but because the clusters were smaller and more variable in size we did not have to drop as much fruit as we did in 2015. We continued our strategy of doing a separate harvest for our Rosé. And waited just before a rain event to pick our Pinot Noir harvest.
BILL SANCHEZ | WINEMAKER
As they say, the wine is made in the vineyard and that continued to ring true in 2016. Thanks to all who helped with harvest and many thanks to you who purchase the fruits of our labor and keep us going on this path to producing wine that makes us all slow down and enjoy our time together.