The onset of “Ripening” begins the plant’s final push to make the fruit attractive and tasty so the fruit gets consumed; resulting in the seeds being left in a nice pile of fertilizer. The picture shows clusters of Cabernet Franc going through what the French call “veraison” or the onset of ripening. Fruit that produces red wine starts out as green berries that change color during veraison. Cabernet Franc ripens quite late in cool climate growing regions, resulting in it being the last of our varieties to hit the press. Our winemaker says that the Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are among the grapes that are picked last in the Finger Lakes; picking is usually the middle to end of October. Depending on the growing season, the fruit could hang until early November. Green fruit during veraison turns translucent and the berries soften up as they swell with sugar. The sugar that gets consumed by yeast to produce alcohol to make wine is also attractive to just about everything else.
More on that subject in the next blog entry.
We got about a half inch of rain which is not enough to get us out of the drought conditions. One thing the rain does do is help the vines grow. When the shoots get too tall and lean over the row middle it can shade the fruit zone and restrict the air that flows around the berries and leaves. Air flow is the best way to keep the berries and leaves healthy through the season. The mechanical hedger uses six spinning blades to chop the top and sides of the canopy to a nice uniform “Hedge”. In the picture above you can see in front of the tractor the shoots are still untouched while the side view mirror shows the nice straight line from trimming. Depending on the season we probably will have to make another pass through the vineyard with the hedger.
The picture below explains the lapse in blog posts. The week mentioned in the previous post turned into a month. The early shoot growth stage starts off at a very vigorous pace which is hard to keep up with. At this point of the season we have gone through bloom and fruit set. The weather has been dry and warm over the last month making the conditions for bloom and fruit set perfect. With the weeks of warm weather and very little rain we now have to monitor the vines for signs of drought stress. The forecast shows a chance this weekend; all we can do is hope for a bit of rain.
With warming temperatures, White Birch is ramping up its preparation for summer. Our tasting room is now open seven days of the week and will soon feature over a dozen wines to enjoy. Our winetail list is ever expanding, with a wine float in the works for hot summer days. With our white wines hitting the shelves in a few weeks, the reds are expected to be on the shelves by summer’s close.
The season is starting to jump into full swing with shoot growth tripled since this photo taken May 25th . The weather has been dry helping ease early pressure from the fungal spores that like tender vinifera shoots and leafs. We did get a bit of rain followed by hot sunny weather that pushed the vines and weeds into full gear. Julio, our other full time vineyard worker, and I have been moving dirt to disrupt the weeds from growing over the past week. Soon it is time to tuck the shoots into the wires and tie the new shoots from the base of the vine up so they do not lie on the ground. Stay tuned for an updated picture that shows what a week’s worth of growth can be.