Working with grapes that ripen early in the season can be a tough road at times because you often are walking a tightrope when it comes to harvest time. Warm weather can make you scramble to get a crew together at a moments notice to get the grapes off the vine before the sugar levels rise too far. Pinot noir and Gewürztraminer are both fairly early to ripen and there have been years when even a one day delay could have meant a significantly riper crop.
The cool temperatures we've seen this season have the vineyards here in the Russian River Valley roughly two weeks behind average. For Pinot growers, however, things look very good. Pushing harvest to late September is not worrisome since there is plenty of dry weather left at that point. And if patterns hold, this hopefully has our grapes coming to optimal ripeness after the typical late season heat spikes that keep us on the phone lining up picking crews at all hours of the night.
These photos are of the Pinot Noir Clone 777 in block 12 at Floodgate Vineyard. This block provides the majority of the grapes that go into our Floodgate Pinot. Looking across the block the clusters are uniform and the color change is also even across the entire block.