2017 West Coast Vintage Weather Thread

Discussions and questions (vintages, winemaking, etc) for those ITB. All are welcome to post.
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Merrill Lindquist
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Post #351  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 11th 2017, 5:19pm

William Segui wrote:
Merrill Lindquist wrote:Not sure where your comments about 2013, 2015, 2016 come from.


That day job of mine allows me to see a lot of fruit, try a lot of wine. My personal experience with 2013 & 2015 was warm+ year w/ small berries and lots of structure. 2016, again in my experience, was less relative heat allowing for more hang time that led to more mature tannin, making the wines a little more approachable early. YMMV
And that is a great day job you have.

2015 was my earliest pick ever. My first 2015 I have opened was today - two months after bottling. I'll take a deeper look, but right now it looks pretty good.
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Post #352  Postby Ken Zinns » August 11th 2017, 8:07pm

Saw some SLH Pinot for sparkling wine come in today at a winery where I was helping with bottling, for a small private-label project. And I saw on Facebook that Bokisch Vineyards in Lodi picked today for Rosado. So things are underway.
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Post #353  Postby Nolan E » August 12th 2017, 7:57am

I think we'll be picking for sparkling in 2-3 weeks, probably during our largest bottling run of the year. Fortunately (?) it's a 6 hour press cycle so not much to worry about except not hitting the press with a forklift.
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Post #354  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 14th 2017, 8:32am

Just in from the vineyard, things are moving along quite nicely. The deepest colored berries are tasting like wine grapes! When they turn to tasting like Cabernet grapes, harvest won't be far off.

Afternoons have still been in the 90s - we are supposed to get a break from that this week. This morning is very grey and cool...a great time to get some water in the ground for the vines. Diamond Mountain is shrouded in fog, but it does not come down to the valley floor - just puts us in cool/grey mode.
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Post #355  Postby Joe Webb » August 14th 2017, 10:28am

A few pictures from yesterday. Were getting ready for bottling this Thursday. Trying to finish last few nets. There is more veraison on the early morning side than the afternoon sun side, don't remember that hapening before.
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Afternoon sun side
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Morning sun side
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Post #356  Postby Casey Hartlip » August 14th 2017, 2:32pm

Roederer started picking Pinot today. I need to test some fields this week. Still hope we're two weeks out, lots of loose ends to clean up.
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Post #357  Postby Casey Hartlip » August 15th 2017, 10:03am

Tested two sparkling Pinot blocks today. 14.3 and 14.5. Two weeks out.
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Post #358  Postby D@vid Bu3ker » August 16th 2017, 3:44am

So then around 9/1 to start then. That seems later than recent years, but still a couple of weeks ahead of where things used to be. Is that true?
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Post #359  Postby Casey Hartlip » August 16th 2017, 6:23am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:So then around 9/1 to start then. That seems later than recent years, but still a couple of weeks ahead of where things used to be. Is that true?

Actually 9/1 would be just about the historical average. Roederer is now picking fields with light crops and healthy canopies. We've got nice crops with healthy canopies.
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Post #360  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 16th 2017, 9:09am

I was out just now in the vineyard and decided to taste a berry or two. Tasting good. brought a few in and they read 21Brx. So things are moving along, but still plenty of clusters that are not 100% color.
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Post #361  Postby Joe Webb » August 16th 2017, 9:36am

Casey Hartlip wrote:
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:So then around 9/1 to start then. That seems later than recent years, but still a couple of weeks ahead of where things used to be. Is that true?

Actually 9/1 would be just about the historical average. Roederer is now picking fields with light crops and healthy canopies. We've got nice crops with healthy canopies.


Casey same timing we saw here when we sold sparkling to Schramsburg harvest was around labor day, a few days before or a few after.

Doing last round of weak shoot thinking in SaviB and Semillon. All nets are up. We bottle on Thursday and I will likely do first round of sampling next week. Veraison will be done by then and it will be a god first look on my rows of PN.
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Post #362  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 17th 2017, 3:44pm

I worked out there mid-day on a cool day. Typically I tend to work looking to the west, as the sun is coming in from the east. Today was cool and grey long enough to tackle those areas that I might have missed.

My cats are hilarious: when they think I have been out there too long, they find me and cry at me and Lady Sapphire, the kitten, will climb into the vine I am working on. This ranch works on balance.

The fruit is looking and tasting awesome. Can it go another month? I don't know. I know it is not ready now.
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Post #363  Postby Casey Hartlip » August 17th 2017, 5:40pm

Preharvest safety meeting today. Had my contractor buddy who does bilingual safety training come and give a power point presentation. Last year he came during harvest to observe my crew. He wound up working with them for a couple hours and got a good feel for it all. He used some pics of my crew which gave them a good laugh. Sent samples to Roederer but haven't heard yet...I'm guessing 14 or so.

It's going to be my 38th harvest and I'm wearing down. It's not much fun anymore. Still glad I don't have an 8 to 5 gig. I told my crew that I have 7 more harvests which they found amusing.

After the safety meeting I gave a preharvest overview. It's all about money right? These folks don't do this work for the passion of Pinot Noir. I bumped my bucket prices last year to encourage my folks and it worked. There were days when we actually had too many folks picking.
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Post #364  Postby Andrew Demaree » August 20th 2017, 10:46am

Posting some pics for Merrill:

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Post #365  Postby Andrew Demaree » August 20th 2017, 10:47am

Casey - what brix do you usually pick at/around for sparkling?
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Post #366  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 20th 2017, 12:12pm

Thanks, Andy, for posting.

Coloring is evening up...perhaps due to some cooler, sunless temps for more hours. We don't want TOO much of that, but it is my belief that hour upon hour, day after day, of 95-100 degree weather does not do a lot to develop flavors. Not scientific; just an observation.

So let's see what is going to happen. I'm still saying, based on nothing, Sept. 15.
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Post #367  Postby Casey Hartlip » August 20th 2017, 5:01pm

Andrew Demaree wrote:Casey - what brix do you usually pick at/around for sparkling?

I'd say the magic number for most folks is 19.0 plus or minus a half a freckle. The thing is the ripening curve is pretty steep through the teens. It can jump 4 brix a week at this time of year.

Lots of samples this week and out come the bins and trailers.
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Post #368  Postby Andrew Demaree » August 20th 2017, 8:25pm

Interesting. Thanks.
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Post #369  Postby timmy roos » August 21st 2017, 7:52am

Got a call from a broker friend saying early fruit hasn't sized well. We won't pick till late sept(lake co.). Casey, is this what you meant by light crops?
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Post #370  Postby Casey Hartlip » August 21st 2017, 11:42am

timmy roos wrote:Got a call from a broker friend saying early fruit hasn't sized well. We won't pick till late sept(lake co.). Casey, is this what you meant by light crops?

Sounds like your situation is fruit late to develop compared to a very light crop that ripened quickly?
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Post #371  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 21st 2017, 1:14pm

We are just seeing the first peek of sun here today in Calistoga at 1:00 p.m. It does not appear to be breaking fully - cool and cloudy with a top temperature (so far) of just over 70. But a quick inspection of the vineyard just now found what I had found a couple of days ago: that the lower temperatures are allowing for development of color and flavor. We don't need any major slowdown as with 2011, but we do not need to speed ahead as we did in some other years. Just moderate stuff, please.
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Post #372  Postby Nolan E » August 21st 2017, 3:01pm

The eclipse definitely pushed back harvest a couple of hours.
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Post #373  Postby Joe Webb » August 22nd 2017, 8:38pm

Took a walk tonight. Still 10% or so of veraison to go. Navarro picked sparkling across the street yesterday. Were still 2.5-3 weeks out depending on temps of course.
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Canopy looking good
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Afternoon side 115
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Morning sun side 115
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Post #374  Postby Joe Webb » August 22nd 2017, 8:45pm

A few more pictures
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Grafted vines
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Assistant berry sampler
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Post #375  Postby timmy roos » August 23rd 2017, 7:59am

Casey Hartlip wrote:
timmy roos wrote:Got a call from a broker friend saying early fruit hasn't sized well. We won't pick till late sept(lake co.). Casey, is this what you meant by light crops?

Sounds like your situation is fruit late to develop compared to a very light crop that ripened quickly?

That is my understanding. I don't see it in my own fruit
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Post #376  Postby Andrew Demaree » August 23rd 2017, 5:19pm

Cute little helper, Joe.
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Post #377  Postby Edward H. Earles » August 25th 2017, 9:54am

Accuweather says you Napa folks are in for a scorching week. How will that affect things?
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Post #378  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 25th 2017, 10:35am

We never know. If we have cool nights and mornings, and the climb to the high is slow, it could be ok. Or we could get some dehydration/shrivel. I have my irrigation on now to give some water before any huge heat. The fruit this morning was tasting delicious!
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Post #379  Postby Karen Troisi » August 25th 2017, 10:49am

Picking our Rutherford sauv blanc on 9/1 (last year we picked on 8/22).
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Post #380  Postby Casey Hartlip » August 25th 2017, 11:39am

Appears that our day one will be Monday the 28th (a day I selected many months ago, yes that's bragging) which will be 12 days later than last year.

Today is checking tire pressures greasing tractors etc. Rental forklift arrived yesterday. I'm retiring our mid 60's Blackwelder. It will be available as a backup this year.

I have almost every day next week booked to pick from sparkling Chard and Pinot to Gewurtz for juice.
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Post #381  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 25th 2017, 3:59pm

It is 95 at my place now. Ugh. I was down to Napa and back to the eye Dr. (again), and saw a number of crews working out there in the heat. Thanks to all our workers in the field!
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Post #382  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 25th 2017, 9:49pm

just in the last 2 days you can see senescence setting, The vines are getting ready to finish the job.
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Post #383  Postby Joe Webb » August 26th 2017, 1:27pm

Did first full roundbof samples yesterday, 10.5-11.5 degrees potiental alchol. Not much color or flavor, stems look/taste great. A few green seeds, most turning brown. 2 more weeks or so to start PN.
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Chickens eating some processed grapes
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Juice samples
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Post #384  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 26th 2017, 6:53pm

Tasted from the vine with some experienced wine folks who stopped by for water after a local wine event...we know we are getting there.
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Post #385  Postby Brian Tuite » August 27th 2017, 6:28am

Quite the diurnal shift yesterday. Our low was 49° while the afternoon high was 106°. Back to 53° this morning.
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Post #386  Postby Brian Tuite » August 27th 2017, 7:58pm

Brian Tuite wrote:Quite the diurnal shift yesterday. Our low was 49° while the afternoon high was 106°. Back to 53° this morning.


And 105° this afternoon. Crazy.
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Post #387  Postby Casey Hartlip » August 28th 2017, 7:45am

We've started.
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Post #388  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 28th 2017, 8:17am

I grabbed a half dozen berries this morning and ran them through the refractometer: 22.5Brix. Flavors are excellent but immature.
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Post #389  Postby Edward H. Earles » August 28th 2017, 2:47pm

I see that Paso Robles is supposed to reach 110 this weekend. Are they picking there?
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Post #390  Postby Roy Piper » August 28th 2017, 3:50pm

109F about an hour ago in Calistoga. Expect 7 straight more days at or over 100F.

I am at about 21-22 brix on my vineyards. I will be disappointed if I pick before October 1 for anything.

This is the weirdest year of weather I've experienced in my 13 vintages here. Will probably set records for rainfall totals and days over 100F in the same vintage.
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Post #391  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 29th 2017, 8:11am

My weather reports are showing a bit lower temperatures for a few days (95 or so), but very soon back to well over 100.

Roy - why would you be disappointed to come in before October 1? I don't think it matters what the calendar says, just what the fruit and vines are telling you.
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Post #392  Postby Karen Troisi » August 29th 2017, 9:16am

Starting to take some measurements on the valley floor yesterday:

Rutherford cab 23.6.

Rutherford Malbec 22.4
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Post #393  Postby Karen Troisi » August 29th 2017, 9:18am

Oak Knoll merlot 20.0
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Post #394  Postby William Segui » August 29th 2017, 10:27am

guess I need to start sampling
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Post #395  Postby Roy Piper » August 29th 2017, 11:59am

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
Roy - why would you be disappointed to come in before October 1? I don't think it matters what the calendar says, just what the fruit and vines are telling you.


Sugar will rise as fast as heat permits. But sugar and ripeness are not the same to me. When I taste fruit I can separate out sugar from flavor and I find when it is really hot, sugar will run ahead of flavor. It's not inconceivable that sugar could be 26 and flavor more like 23.5. Another way is to watch pH. In hot years I think it says more than brix. I find flavor more to my liking when fruit on the vine is at least 3.6-3.7 pH.
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Post #396  Postby Roy Piper » August 29th 2017, 1:37pm

Expected temps in St Helena, starting tomorrow....

97
103
109
109
107
104
99
96

Add 3-5 to each of those and that will likely be the reality.
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2017 West Coast Vintage Weather Thread

Post #397  Postby Bdklein » August 29th 2017, 2:02pm

Roy Piper wrote:Expected temps in St Helena, starting tomorrow....

97
103
109
109
107
104
99
96

Add 3-5 to each of those and that will likely be the reality.


Heat wave!!
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Casey Hartlip
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2017 West Coast Vintage Weather Thread

Post #398  Postby Casey Hartlip » August 29th 2017, 3:22pm

Well that will really f*ck up a bunch of near perfect fruit. 2017 will be the opposite of 2011. I'm already bummed.
Ordway's Valley Foothills
Bdklein
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2017 West Coast Vintage Weather Thread

Post #399  Postby Bdklein » August 29th 2017, 3:30pm

Wonder if wildfires in Oregon will impact any fruit on the West Coast?
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Merrill Lindquist
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2017 West Coast Vintage Weather Thread

Post #400  Postby Merrill Lindquist » August 29th 2017, 4:15pm

Roy Piper wrote:
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
Roy - why would you be disappointed to come in before October 1? I don't think it matters what the calendar says, just what the fruit and vines are telling you.


Sugar will rise as fast as heat permits. But sugar and ripeness are not the same to me. When I taste fruit I can separate out sugar from flavor and I find when it is really hot, sugar will run ahead of flavor. It's not inconceivable that sugar could be 26 and flavor more like 23.5. Another way is to watch pH. In hot years I think it says more than brix. I find flavor more to my liking when fruit on the vine is at least 3.6-3.7 pH.
No argument. But setting a goal of something like "October 1" seems random to me. Get the flavors you want, regardless of what the calendar says, and go for it! I have picked on August 22 and October 3 and just about every date between. Taste and watch. Doesn't do any good to have a shriveled mess, or a green mess, no matter what the date.
Merrill Lindquist
EMH Vineyards - "Black Cat" Cabernet
merrill@emhvineyards.com

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