Thursday, May 27, 2010

All Clear for 2010 !!

Spring is in full swing here in Napa Valley. The buds have pushed and another vintage hinges on what happens right now. This is when we watch the weather very carefully - as do our growers. As always in Spring, early bud break followed by a late frost could seriously damage our chances at a successful year. It has been unseasonably cold this month and still raining on and off but as it is May now, chances of frost are very unlikely.

Also, this late rain is important because it increases the water table; which in turn will help in more uniform berry set after flowering. We expect a much later harvest this year with these additional cooler temperatures. So, it seems that we have passed the test and we may see another year like 2009 with full fruit development at lower sugar levels, higher yields and the pick of the crop!

Indeed, 2010 will be more like 2009 than the rigorous "winemaker" year of 2008 which put our knowledge, skills and luck to the test. Recently one of our coopers gave us a nice complement:

"It's wonderful to see the barrels performing so well, and to know that you are paying such close attention to the details of your winemaking. You really do set an example!"

While I love to hear statements like this, I believe it is best that nature is on our side and with a little coercion the wines will make themselves in the vineyards. So, enduring springtime in wine country may seem like a minor achievement to the outsider but we will take our victories when we can get them and fret less when we go to bed at night.

- Karl Lehmann, VELLUM Winemaker