Every indication, leading up to harvest in 2017, showed a gradual ripening schedule, perhaps 7-10 days behind 2016. Fruit quality looked good, with some vineyard concerns of powdery mildew. Canopy growth was vigorous, fruit set was good. Yields in some vineyards were lower than expected, but healthy vines from all the rainfall.
Personally, I’m happy to have high quality, low yield, if there has to be some trade-off.
The gradual and stable weather gave way to hot temperatures beginning the end of August and came in a couple waves. 100+degrees in Healdsburg on 8/26, 27, 28 with an overnight low on the 28th at 56 (which helps); as Dry Creek Valley behaves differently than Alexander Valley, the fog lingered a little longer in Dry Creek Valley.
Then the real heat came and the morning fog disappeared.
August 31 through September 2 saw 110 degree temps in Dry Creek Valley with the crushpad up in Alexander Valley at 119. Overnight lows were in the high 60's. We “cooled” down to 104 on Sept 3 and 90 degrees on Sept 4 with a bit of humidity and a thick haze throughout Alexander and Dry Creek Valley.
So what did all this wild weather mean to Mastro Scheidt Cellars?
It meant all hands on deck to pull my dry farmed feral Lencioni vineyard grapes off as soon as possible! 100% hand picked and sorted means you don’t take raisins. Hand-picked also means you start early and finish early because it’s hot, real hot and you don’t want the fruit fermenting in the vineyard if you can help it.
And then, strangely enough, on 9/7 there was precipitation early morning and up through 11am. Not a light rain, but real rain. On 9/13 the rain came again and dumped pretty good in the morning and the sun never came out, maybe a high of 70 at the crushpad.
There are still a few things to bring in before the season is complete and the steady weather pattern is back in effect. But who knows, the sooner I'm off the vine the better.