August 28, 2012–Almost exactly one year ago, we took ownership of Silver Thread. Our whirlwind first harvest began on September 13 (with Pinot Noir), and we haven’t stopped for breath since. Although we are much better prepared this year (for example, we’ve learned the particulars of driving our tractor and know where the clippers for picking grapes are stored), mother nature is not letting up on us.
The picture above shows Pinot Noir grapes undergoing veraison (the process where the grapes change from green into their ultimate color and begin the final phase of ripening). It was taken August 10. The grapes are now completely black and nearly ready to be picked. And its still August. This should probably come as no surprise, since our growing season began in March (instead of the usual May time frame).
We tested the ripeness level of the grapes on Sunday (8/26) and Paul exclaimed, “I’ve harvested grapes less ripe than this!” Obviously, that was in a cooler-than-average year and not an unusually warm one like we’re currently having. Will we be making Pinot Noir to rival the Russian River Valley’s overly-extracted style? I hope not, since to me that isn’t Pinot Noir. But it is looking to be an exceptionally ripe vintage that will produce a wine with more color, body and texture than is usually expected from the Finger Lakes.
We will probably pick Pinot Noir next week, with Chardonnay to follow soon after. Will Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Gewurztraminer hang on until October (their normal harvest date)? Only time will tell. There is nothing but warmth and sun in the extended forecast.