Journal | September 3, 2018

Hardscrabble Journal

Waiting Game

Our grapes are ripening, but slowly. There has been enough heat, but not too much sun. We have avoided most of the thunderstorms over the past several days. While the ground is starting to dry out, there remains a lot of water available to the vines. Usually at this time of year the soil is very dry, which signals to the vines that they need to get ready for winter by directing their energy into storing carbohydrates for dormancy and ripening seeds for propagation. They are a bit confused and continue to put some energy into growing more leaves rather than focusing solely on ripening grapes.

The Boisseau Vineyard is Linden’s warmest site and always starts the vintage. Chardonnay and Viognier are now in the window of ripeness. The numbers are there, but the flavors and concentration are lagging behind. The numbers refer to sugar % (aka Brix), total acid (TA), and pH. Numbers are only rough indicators that the resulting wine will be balanced. They tell us nothing about personality and expressiveness. If we continue to avoid any major thunderstorms and are able to take advantage of the forecasted hot, sunny days ahead, we could end up with some pretty nice wines.

The animals aren’t waiting. This year we are experiencing an up tick in mammal predation. Raccoons, opossums and groundhogs are taking their usual allotment, but the big problem is bear. The reason is that there are no acorns this year. The same wet weather conditions back in May and June that caused poor fertilization in the grapevine flowering affected the oak trees. No pollination means no acorns means no principle food source for the bears. Grapes fill that void nicely for them.

Not so nice for us. We have an effective deer fence, but the bear easily burrow under the fence. There are electrified wires positioned on the outside of the fence on which we attach aluminum pie plates coated with peanut butter. The idea is that the bear try to eat the peanut butter, get shocked and discouraged. But this year the bears aren’t deterred. Shari Avenius has ramped up the game by lacing old bed sheet strips with a special sauce of peanut butter, hot sauce, and oil along the fence. Fine winemaking requires innovation and ingenuity.

Linden Vineyards / Learn More / Latest at Linden | Journal: September 3, 2018

Hardscrabble JournalJim Law