Journal | Follow the 2018 Harvest | September 12, 2018
Good News, Bad News
The good news is that the major impact of high winds and torrential rains from hurricane Florence may miss us. My biggest concern is power loss. We have some solar/battery backup, enough to run small pumps and water, but not enough to power large processing equipment and cooling.
However we are far from being out of the woods. Storm tracks change and we are still looking at many days of inclement weather. So we proceed with “hurricane picking:” bringing in as many grapes as possible while they are still in good shape. I have been impressed with how the clusters have held up with this dreary, drizzly weather. Rot is beginning to appear, which slows down both the picking and processing as we take extra time to eliminate (by hand) individual rotten berries. There is nowhere near the flavor intensity and concentration of vintage 2017, and the lack of sunshine in the forecast doesn’t bode well for any kind of a miracle turnaround.
Thus far this week we have picked and pressed Avenius Sauvignon Blanc and about half of the Hardscrabble Chardonnay. Today’s focus is on Avenius Chardonnay, Hardscrabble Riesling, and more Chardonnay.
The plan was to stop processing Friday due to concerns of losing power. I may need to rethink that now.
So we continue to pick, trying to stay ahead of the rot. Our winemaking has shifted accordingly: gentle pressing, with less juice yields (amount of juice per ton of grapes), longer and colder juice settling (clearer juice makes prettier, more aromatic wines, but with less complexity), and little to no new oak barrel usage.