We're heading into the middle of August, the grapes are going through veraison--the coloring-- and I've been trying to figure out this growing season in order to be ready far harvest.
I think we've been a little drier than our friends to the east, enough to lower the downy pressure and increase the powdery pressure. I was getting a bit depressed a month or so ago about this season. After the last four years, I know we're due for a bad one, but I kept hoping we would be spared. I started looking at historical weather data from weatherunderground.com for York. (It's not quite Brogue, but close enough.) They even give GDD above 50F.
Here's what I gleaned from doing it. May was our second wettest ever since 1998. June was our coldest. July was drier, but not very warm. But then I noticed we were only 80GDD behind 2005 and 2007 at the end of July. 2004 had more than 250 more GDD than 2007/2005/2009 at this point. I am starting to think that our best years really come down to two things: warm and dry Septembers and dry Octobers. That's really the only pattern I could see.
So, my strategy this year has been to stay clean, open the canopy early, pull out all secondaries early, and hope for a good fall. At least I'm not as depressed as I was. Spraying every 5-6 days is a pain in the butt, though.
The wines should be at least nice, and if Mother nature cooperates at all with us this fall, look out, we could have some beauties.