Well, it finally happened. I woke up this morning and noticed a heavy layer of frost outside. The thermometer is reading about 27F, which means all the leaves I worked so long this summer to protect from disease to ensure ripening are toast.
It was bound to happen, and we're fortunate that it happened so late this year. Back in 2001, we were frosted on October 8th. That would have spelled disaster for 2009. We weren't even starting to pick our early reds until after then. And the late ones? They would have ended up as rose wines.
The timing is great, though. My plan was to pick our Cabernet this weekend--Sunday, in fact. The frost hitting the leaves will cause them all to fall off by the end of the day. Tomorrow, when we go to pick the grapes, the work will be a bit easier for us, as we won't have to search for the clusters. With bare canes, the grapes will be the only thing left hanging on the vines.
Next week, we'll get all the nets put away, and leave the bare and clean vineyard for a couple months. I've already been thinking about pruning. I'm strange that way, usually thinking 4-6 months ahead about vineyard operations. The empty vineyard will be a great place to walk through on a snowy day and dream about the future wine we will grow there. And how we will grow it will start with the first pruning cut sometime in January......