Oh, does it all happens at once… Barely done with bottling 2007, I’ve been out at Hyde Vineyards trimming sunburned fruit every afternoon for a week! After cool climate all season, we had two tough hotspells- one late August and one about two weeks ago.
It’s a farming gamble – in a cool vintage, we open up the northside canopy (literally, remove leaves on the north side of the row) to allow more sunshine to those clusters to help ripening, yet leaving them vulnerable to a heat wave. My block at Hyde was hit really hard–ironically, worst on the north side.
Most wineries leave this enormous task of removing less-desirable berries for the sorting table, in which I have little faith. I prefer to look at the clusters hanging before me right on the vine–the trouble spots are easy to find. Not to mention: the weigh scale comes before the sorting table. Luckily my daily visits were joined by friends, and supportive greetings from the ever-cheerful Ryan Bailey of Hyde Vineyards who is one hard-working guy this time of year.
Ryan’s crew will try not to pick raisined fruit, but they move really fast and in the dark in wee am hours, so I don’t want to leave anything hanging I wouldn’t want in the tank. I am ever grateful the Hyde family allowed me to work out here. “We want you to make a good wine,” Ryan kept saying as I snipped away.
I confess, a few hours tending the vines before sunset is a wonderful way to wind down. I already miss my daily visits.