Anthony Vietri, owner/winemaker of Va La Vineyards in Avondale, Pennsylvania offers this update on his harvest season thus far:

“After a cool spring, and late-ish veraison, we’ve had somewhere in the neighborhood of 40+ days over 90F this summer. August-September were below average in rainfall for our site. Weed growth was marked by the appearance of a still as yet unidentified tall grass of some 3-4 feet, which appeared suddenly this year and simply laughed heartily at the organic herbicide that we attempted to fight it with.

Unusual year threat-wise, as normally draughty summers lead to heavy bird and wasp predation, however this year wasp issues are below normal and birds have almost been no factor. Japanese beetles, Assassin beetles, Lady Bugs, fruit flies and stink bugs have all been largely and thankfully MIA. Deer and groundhogs, however, have tried hard to fill-in for their colleagues in evil-doing.

Berries weights and cluster weights are above average in most varieties, and brix have been average to above average depending on variety. Acids have been normal. Tannins and stems have been particularly ripe. Senescent basal leaves were showing in all of the right places by end of September.

We starting to pick our chestnuts in mid-September, which signals for us that the pinot grigio is ready to harvest, and now most of our whites are in.

We began picking late piemontese figs two weeks ago which coincides with the start of our red harvest, with portions of nebbiolo, barbera, charbono, teroldego, sagrantino, malvasia nera, lagrein, etc. being harvested this week, and then other reds, corvina, petit verdot, carmine, etc. will follow, if the God’s are willing.

We started picking persimmons this past week which signals that it is time to harvest the petit manseng which is early this year. Everything is actually ready to come in, they’re all just tapping their fingers waiting for us to come for them, but we do not feel any pressing reason to jump at things at this point, and harvest is moving along at a very nice leisurely pace.”

About Author

Lenn Thompson, a proud Pittsburgh, PA native, moved to Long Island more than a decade ago and quickly fell in love with the region’s dynamic and emerging wine community. A digital and content marketing and community professional by day, he founded in early 2004 to share his passion for the wines, beers and spirits of New York State. After running that site -- which became the premier source for independent New York wine commentary, reviews and news -- for 12 years, he launched in late 2016 to add the wines of Virginia, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and beyond to his beat. Lenn currently serves as the wine columnist for The Suffolk Times weekly newspaper and is the former editor of the Long Island Wine Gazette. He contributes or has contributed to publications like Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Beverage Media, Edible Brooklyn, Edible East End and Edible Hudson Valley. Lenn served on the board of directors for Drink Local Wine, and is the creator and founder of TasteCamp, an annual regional wine immersion conference for writers and trade. An admitted riesling and cabernet franc fanatic, he’s intensely passionate about eating local and the many local wine regions of America. Lenn lives in Miller Place, NY with his wife Nena, son Jackson, daughter Anna and their dog, Casey Lemieux Thompson.

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