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.
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