Seufert Winery

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Our weather is cooperating!

This last week, Oregon cooled down with highs only in the 50’s and rain. Lot’s of rain at times. It seems like it’s been forever since it really rained here.

Most Oregon vineyards are dry farmed, meaning that they don’t rely on irrigation. As such, they are completely dependent on our fickle fall weather. Deciding exactly when to harvest is guess work at best*, and a very large gamble.

Since our summers are dry, when September comes around, the grapes could be starting to dehydrate. Therefore, some rain is good for them. It plumps them up again, lowers the sugar ratio (degrees Brix), and the cooler temps give the fruit more time to develop complex flavors. The gamble is hoping that the rain stops, allowing the fruit to dry off enough for harvest.

This year it looks like our weather is cooperating. The spell of rain is now being followed by several days of warmer (~70 degrees), dry days. Now the question is how long to wait before harvest. The resulting wine improves with each additional day that the fruit stays on the vine, as long as the rains don’t return.

As of today, we’re going to hold off until early next week. If our weather holds, this could be a stellar year for Oregon Pinot noir. Let’s hope so.

* Note: Many factors that drive the harvest decision are not guesses. The measurable attributes of ripeness are closely tracked. The complicating aspect is that the Pinot noir grapes ripen very late in Oregon. The guessing comes in to play when you try to determine what the weather is going to do.


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