Ethan Joseph, winemaker and vineyard manager at Shelburne Vineyard in Shelburne, Vermont sent this detailed harvest report earlier today:

“The 2016 season in the Champlain Valley of Vermont turned out to be one of the best years of the past decade. A relatively warm winter meant virtually no vine damage, even on our more sensitive varieties like Riesling and Vidal Blanc.

Spring was cool and vines were slow to start growing, which was positive from a frost perspective but meant heat units in the early part of the season were slow to accumulate. Over the first half of the growing period, we saw the effects of this, manifesting as a slight delay in all the major phenological stages of the vine. But what we lacked in temperature, we made up for in dry weather. Eventually, temperatures really began to rise and stayed quite high for a significant portion of the season, and the dry trend continued. Disease pressure was low and vines did not demonstrate the same type of vigor we see in wetter years, which was positive from a fruit quality standpoint. The cool weather early on, combined with high yields meant harvest started a bit later than previous years, and the dry and warm weather also allowed for longer hang times and more fully mature fruit.

Harvest began on September 10 in our Louise (Swenson) blocks and ended October 16 with Petite Pearl. Flavor development took a little more time to come around, especially in the Louise Swenson and surprisingly high yielding Petite Pearl, but all in all, the grapes came in right where we like them.

A light frost hit us the night of October 15, although it seemed to be spotty, even within specific blocks. Vidal Blanc and Arctic Riesling still hang for ice wine, and the dry and warm weather are enabling them to eek just a little more ripening out of this season, as these vines were not affected by the frost.

Some data:
McCabe’s Brook Louise Swenson: 5.6T/A, 17.0 Brix, 8.8g/L TA, and 3.14pH

Mt Philo Louise Swenson/Prairie Star field blend: 6.6T/A, 17.5 Brix, 8.3g/L TA , and 3.25pH

Mt Philo L’Acadie Blanc: 4.4T/A, 22.0 Brix, 8.8g/L TA, and 3.22pH

Mt Philo LaCrescent: 3.5T/A, 24.1 Brix, 12.5g/L TA, and 3.1pH

McCabe’s LaCrescent: 4.3T/A, 25.0 Brix, 11.2g/L TA, and 3.05pH

Mt Philo Marquette: 4.1T/A, 27.0 Brix, 8.7g/L TA, and 3.2pH

McCabe’s Marquette: 4.0T/A, 27.0 Brix, 10.4g/L TA, and 3.3pH

McCabe’s N Marquette: 5.0T/A, 27.2 Brix, 10.2g/L TA, and 3.17pH

MCT Riesling: 2.5T/A, 21.2 Brix, 8.7g/L TA, and 3.0pH

Mt Philo Petite Pearl: 8.4T/A, 22.5 Brix, 7.7g/L TA, and 3.3pH

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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