So far we’ve had a good year in the Hudson Valley. Many of the hybrids in the region have been picked. Chardonnay, cabernet franc, and merlot are still on the vine.
A cold, wet spring gave growers fits and starts at the beginning of the season. Disease pressure was high and frost damage hit certain areas hard. But a dry summer resulted in wonderful grapes that remained. A shaky period during September was a little scary, and some wineries pulled crops due to worries about damage from weather or disease or animal pressures. Overall though, crops were absolutely the most bountiful in a long time, and fruit quality was very good in many cases.
Bird pressure was more intense that many growers could remember. More and more farms invested heavily in netting, bird cannons, fake coyotes and wolves, and any other matter of device were employed more than anyone could remember to ensure the delivery of the crops.
We found that the chelois and baco noir from the Casscles Vineyards was some of the best we’ve seen in a long time. We think for these grapes they will be seminal vintages if we don’t make any mistakes in the cellar. And the Hudson-Chatham estate Seyval was the most plentiful and best crop we ever harvested. We argued intensely about the right time to pull. For stylistic reasons I wanted to harvest earlier to make a slightly more acidic wine, while Steve (Casscles, our winemaker) wanted to wait.
Clinton Vineyards, the region’s largest producer of seyval, had experienced some severe frost damage in the spring, but the resulting crop that was harvested was of excellent quality overall. And the size of the crop was still bountiful despite some of the early set backs. They are excited about sparkling and still wines for next year.
Others have already harvested many of the cold weather grapes like Brookview Station for their Frontenac and Marquette, and Glorie Farms for their Seyval, DeChauanac, and Frontenac.
Millbrook, Tousey, Palaia, Benmarl, and Whitecliff are still hanging tough with their vinifera.