2016 Harvest Report: Old Westminster Winery (Maryland) October 14, 2016

Drew Baker, vineyard manager at his family’s Old Westminster Winery, sent this report earlier today:

“It’s been an interesting season in Maryland. April – June were wet and cool. Many vineyards – particularly those to the south of the Potomac – endured frost on April 6 and 10; those of us in the hills to the north were fortunately unaffected.

In our home vineyard, full bloom was 3-4 days behind last year, as was veraison. But a hot/dry August-September was just what we needed. This season has the early makings of a great one. We managed to keep everything clean early and the harvest has been high quality and plentiful. Overall, I’d sign up for this season every year.

All whites were brought in under optimal conditions and are fermenting away. I’m particularly excited about this year’s grüner and chardonnay crops. We also hand bottled about 300 cases of pet-nat albariño, grüner and Barbera rosé over the past two weeks.

It’s been a balanced year. Nice acidity, moderate sugars and flavor/aroma development has been very good across the board. I hesitate to make promises too soon, but I think we’re going to look back on 2016 favorably.

Most reds remain in the field. We’ve harvested blocks of merlot and barbera that seemed a bit fragile on the last days of September, but our best blocks of cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot are still hanging. Looks like abundant sun for the next 7-10 days — let’s hope this forecast is accurate.”

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