By Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor

Photo courtesy McGregor Vineyard

Before harvest has even ended, McGregor Vineyard owner John McGregor has a sense for what the 2009 vintage will offer. 

"There are some people who really love these kinds of years," he says. "They love racy wines. They love acid. Well, we're going to have that."

The challenge will be making sure the wines don't show so much acid that they're off balance. "I would guess that we're dealing with the same issues other people are dealing with in the Finger Lakes right now," McGregor explains. "You can only do so much to reduce acids. So you have to make some adjustments. We still have riesling, vignoles, cabernet franc, and cabernet sauvignon hanging. The acids might not drop much more but we're getting to a much better place."

One significant departure might come in the 2009 McGregor Riesling. "I'd assume our riesling will have more residual sugar than many years, because you want to handle the natural acid."

And just as he is when writing the Clan Club newsletter, McGregor is honest about which grapes are doing well and which are struggling. In particular, he's frank about franc. "Cab franc could end up being the poor boy of the season," he says. "But we've already decided we're going to make a Cabernet Franc Rose, and I'm excited about that. We haven't done it in several years."

McGregor will have more to say about the 2009 harvest at the upcoming barrel tastings, which tend to draw large groups of Clan Club members. The first round of barrel tasting of 2008 reds is next weekend.