The season started off promising, with an unusually early and warm spring. Gentle showers periodically brought welcome moisture to the growing vines through April and May.
June came with clear skies that did not end until well into August. The days were HOT and DRY. At one point, even the hardiest, oldest, most well established vines showed signs of being thirsty.
We thought the whites would come in early, but I think the heat and drought delayed ripening, so they came in about the usual time. Each variety had scattered raisins within the clusters. Very sweet, dried fruit that added considerable sugar concentration to the final juice.
After that the rains came.
Reds that were two weeks away from harvest at the beginning of September remained that far away well through October as one wet weather front after another moved through. No hurricanes, no tropical storms, just periodic, steady rains. The temperatures turned unseasonably cool at this time, helping to keep the fruit and canopy healthy the whole time.
We'll harvest our last four varieties this weekend: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Cao, Mourvedre, and the other half of the Marsanne we left hanging before the rains.