I realize that I haven't been making wine for as many years as some of my colleagues. Yet, this is definitely the strangest harvest I have seen.
Back in 2003, we just knew it was going to be tough from the get-go. In 2007, we were pretty sure we were on auto-pilot the whole way through. But this year can't seem to make up its mind.
May was the coldest I'd ever seen, and June was one of the wettest. July was schizophrenic, and August saw us finally get some heat. September has us bouncing between monsoons and beautiful fall weather. It's enough to drive me even more insane.
All of this variability has put stress on our vines. We've kept them clean through August, but little spots of downy mildew are creeping in. It's starting to look like a battlefield out there, and the good guys are barely hanging on. Only a few more weeks to go, and I think we'll make it.
Keeping a positive attitude in life is one of the most important things on my priority list. But even now, I still find myself forcing a smile or having thoughts of throwing in the towel. Then, I get little surprises.
We picked some Chardonnay last week, and you know, it's pretty nice stuff. Not great in the numbers department. But the aromatics are very pretty and the juice was sqeaky clean. It'll make a nice Steel Chard.
So, I am still holding out hope that I'll be surprised again. And, hopefully, again and again and again.....