To say 2017 has been an up-and-down year might be a bit of an understatement. But if I had to sum it up, I would say it paid to be patient.
The cool, wet weather during the early part of the year pushed everything back by about three weeks. On November 10, the temperature reached -6C – almost cold enough for Icewine – and we had just started to harvest the red grapes. That said, the six-week run from mid-August through the end of September really helped turn things around. The stars truly aligned during prime ripening time with two weeks of gorgeous weather late September, the only run of days over 30C this year.
Our focus has been on exceptional vineyard management, critically important to ensuring optimum fruit quality and maintaining the soundness of the fruit. We followed our normal practices of shoot-thinning, cane-tucking, canopy-hedging and grape thinning. But where we would normally do one walk through a vineyard to check progress, this year we did two.
Grapes were harvested according to the late season to achieve maximum fruit maturity. Grapes for white wines were harvested first and the sugars in some was higher than expected and the juice is very aromatic. There is also lively acidity where we like it, especially in Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc (2017 SB will have more typical herbal varietal notes). Chardonnays should be real full-bodied and textured. Gewurztraminer has very good typicity with floral and spicy bursting out.
The red grapes - Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon - tfrom our Home Farm Vineyard and two other small vineyards were all harvested between November 20 and 24, a new record for last pick. This late in the season there is some dehydration on the fruit and sugars are over 25 brix. The result is really ripe, rich, absolutely fantastic flavours. Well worth the wait!
Marc P. Bradshaw