It's been a real juggling act this spring in our vineyards. I decided to run a third vineyard near Stewartstown. This is the source of some of the best Cabernet Franc we've had since 2001. The Franc has ended up in our 2001 Bridge, 2002 Proprietor's Red, 2005 Cadenza, 2006 Bridge, and 2007's Cadenza and Bridge. Driving up to it, it's obviously not the most ideal site for a vineyard. It sits rather low near surrounding hills, and it stays shaded through some of the earliest mornings sunrises. But it does create nice wines for us.
Trying to balance that vineyard with James (that we are now managing for the third or fourth year) and our own home vineyard has been akin to mental gymnastics. It's been tough staying in touch with all three places, and making sure tasks are done properly in timely manners. Luckily I have had four guys (Matt, Steve, Eric, and Levi) who have kept up with all my instructions. We're almost halfway through the major work for the summer, and things look pretty good out there.
Our reds (across the board) have set too many clusters. After leaf-pulling in a couple weeks, we'll go through and drop the extra clusters. The Merlot, Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon have all put on too many third clusters on their canes. These will never ripen and will cause the other clusters to not ripen sufficiently. It's never easy to go through a vineyard and drop fruit, but it has to happen to make the wines we want to make. Every cluster is a couple glasses of wine, and we probably are carrying hundreds of extra ones this year.
But, if this year keeps up the way it started, we need to lighten our load. We need some sunshine. And lots of heat. Start doing your No Rain Dances.