December 3, 2014–Our final day of harvesting grapes in 2014 was October 30, which means we still have fermentations going on as this is being written. We haven’t had much time yet to reflect on the 2014 growing season, but so far the unfinished wines show lots of promise and snap.
We began this year’s harvest with Pinot Noir on September 19 and finished with Riesling and Cabernet Franc the last week of October. Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer both came in around October 1. In general, everything was harvested a week or two later than average for the region.
Our growing season didn’t begin until May 15 due to a very cold spring. Temperatures were below average for most of the growing season (especially in August), and rainfall was above average (especially during July). The weather in September was very dry, sunny and warm, which helped tremendously in keeping disease pressure low while ripening the grapes. October was also relatively warm and sunny, so we had the luxury of waiting to harvest Riesling and Cabernet Franc until late in the month.
We are very excited about the potential quality of Riesling from 2014, as the sugars were relatively high and the acids are up a bit compared to the past few years–this will lead to some very racy, mouth-watering, ageable wines the likes of which we haven’t produced in the Finger Lakes since 2009.
Other varieties show promise, as well. Everything we produce–Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Gewurztraminer–had higher sugar levels than last year, and showed all the signs of physiological ripeness. Acid levels are higher than last year, too, meaning that the wines will most likely be high-toned and expressive of the cool vintage.
Although much was reported in the media about winter damage limiting production for 2014, our production levels remain about the same as last year. We sustained very little damage at our own vineyard, and all the growers we work with were able to compensate for winter damage by leaving extra buds.
Our first release of the 2014 vintage will be Dry Rose of Pinot Noir, which will be released in late February. So far, this wine is showing lovely delicacy with flavors of grapefruit and wet stone. We anticipate the 2014 Silver Thread wines will exhibit all the quality and expressiveness our customers have come to expect from our vineyard and winery.