Guest Blog from Viticulturist, Dave Terry: 2 Weeks Out

At our Laetitia Vineyard, the year was marked by an uncharacteristically dry spring with higher than normal night time temperatures.  This resulted in a mid-February bud break—almost 3 weeks earlier when compared to 2012 and 2013.  The warmer than usual spring temperatures accelerated shoot growth, bloom,  fruit set and veraison.  However,  this changed during the last week of June, when the weather turned gloomy and temperatures decreased which in turn slowed the ripening process.  Originally, we were forecasting a late July harvest of fruit used for the sparkling program but,  as of now, it looks like we will harvest a considerable amount of fruit during the second week of August for our sparkling wine program, specifically Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay.  As for the Pinot Noir used in our sparkling, we’ve since been able to employ several farming practices that have slowed the ripening process.  We are expecting this will help concentrate flavor.  I’ve been seeing Dave Hickey out in the sparkling wine blocks often, looking at and sampling the fruit that he will be working with over the course of the next year.  He was smiling last Friday and that is good news in my book.

_MG_1060The Laetitia Pinot Noir fruit that will be used for our still wine program is still 3 to 4 weeks from being at optimum ripeness. At this point in the season we are just trying our best to manage the interaction of sunlight/leaves/and soil water.  If we see something that needs tweaked, we will tweak it.  Also, our integrated pest management has been spot on this year and the vineyard is looking very clean.   Since we grow 12 different clones of Pinot, each with a different growth habit, we will have our hands full over the next few weeks.

I am especially pleased with Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, _MG_1166this year.  Comparatively, the climate has been very similar to 2013.  Bud break occurred the first week of April and veraison began almost to the date as it did in 2013.   Because of this, we have been able to make some predictions and forecast in a way that maybe we weren’t able to during previous years.  It has allowed us to make some favorable viticultural decisions and I am sure it will show in the wine when it is uncorked in 2016 and beyond.  We will start harvesting Highlands during the 3rd week of August.


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