Journal | August 6, 2018
Ready to Dry Out
Last week included disbelief, denial, and a reality check. After more than two months of record rains we felt that we should certainly be due for a change. Last week’s rains were salt on the wound. The soil has been at field capacity (saturated) for some time. As the vines, weeds and grass grew with great abandon, I could only be reminded of my Peace Corps years farming in equatorial Congo. The bananas loved it.
The vines are weirdly healthy, clusters are swollen, and so far disease has not been a major issue. Ripening has started. Right now we are experiencing classic “Dog Days” August weather, which is welcome: the hot sun can pull a lot of moisture out of the ground with the help of all the vegetation (evapotranspiration). It will take a long, long string of sunny, dry days to get to a situation vaguely resembling normal, but I have seen some magnificent turnaround vintages in my time.
Perhaps I’m feeling more upbeat than I should because last week we bottled some most amazing 2017 Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. The advantage of winegrowing over other farming is that we have inventory, and in this case lots of really, really good inventory! It also didn’t hurt that during all the rain and fog, we were holed up in the windowless cellar with equipment noise drowning out the background downpours drumming on the outside.
We are going into vintage 2018 at a disadvantage, but remain optimistic. A searing, hot August and a cooling, breezy, dry September are needed for redemption.