By Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor

Photos Courtesy of Sheldrake Point Vineyard

Contrary to what you might have heard, not all vineyards in the Finger Lakes have been torched and shut down by hard frosts. In fact, vines located in some of the region's most historically warm vineyards have been largely protected. These photographs taken at Sheldrake Point Vineyards' Cayuga Lake vineyards on October 24 (Saturday) illustrate the value of a warm mesoclimate in the Finger Lakes.Green1

Some sites have proven to be at least five degrees warmer than the average site, and those five small degrees can make an enormous difference when the mercury dips toward the low 30s — or further.

While many wine producers are understandably bringing in fruit from frost-affected vineyards, Sheldrake Point is letting it hang. "We have had some leaf loss but most of the canopies for our reds are still going strong," says owner Bob Madill. "We'll likely pick merlot early in the week and leave the cabernet sauvignon and cab franc for a bit yet (as well as riesling)."

The one certainty about the 2009 vintage is that it will be extremely difficult to describe in a sentence or two. There is such wide variation when it comes to growing practices, cropping, effects of weather and winemaking technique. We'll continue to provide a broad picture of harvest, but don't listen to anyone who tries to tell you the vintage can be summed up with simple terms. This is a "Pay Attention" kind of year, and those who do will be able to find some beautiful wines.