Page August 1st

August 1st marks yet another important time on the Winery calendar.   The first berries are threatening to turn colour, faint blasts of bird bangers can be heard in the distance, and our cherished new barrels are starting to board ships in France.  The anticipation is palpable!

Winemakers are busy working out the logistics of the coming harvest, while Viticulturalists can be spotted zooming around the Peninsula, horse trading for the best fruit.  “Who’s got Pinot Gris?  Who needs Riesling?  Who’s on first?”  It’s a frenzied time for all involved.  Grape growers can just work hard, pray for good weather, and hope that all their fruit will make the grade.

In the vineyard, fruit exposure and crop load management are the focus.  These are achieved through cluster thinning, strategic leaf removal and timely Botrytis control measures.  My goal in the tight-clustered varieties (Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc) is thinning them down to a point where each bunch has some elbow room within the canopy.  This allows space for cluster expansion and helps alleviate potential “hot spots” for rot.  It’s a finicky and costly undertaking, but I’ve learned the hard way that it’s essential to producing quality wine.

The recent stretch of hot and dry weather in Niagara has set us up for what could be a solid vintage.  As always, fall conditions will be the ultimate judge.

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