It’s The Calm Before The Storm At Mount Salem Vineyards
Right now, many of us are enjoying the last days of summer, the last days before school begins and a final respite of fun. Here at Mount Salem Vineyards, we’re doing just the same, of sorts. With harvest season just a few weeks away, it’s our own calm before the storm.
We’ve spent nine months – all the way from pruning cold vineyards surrounded by snowfall in January – growing this year’s grapes for a harvest that now, finally, is here. Our entire year’s work will shortly come to fruition, bringing a combination of nerves and joy, an odd feeling that hasn’t waned in our near 20 years of growing.
On the one hand, we’re relishing these quieter days – and longer rests. We’re excited that we’ve enjoyed an extra-long growing season, due to an early budbreak, marked with warm and dry temperatures. It feels a lot like 2010 – which was considered to be the best vintage in a decade.
However, we know we’re not out of the vines yet. Several weeks of late summer and early fall sustained rain – which is very possible considering that our region hasn’t seen much rain since June – could be disastrous to our precious harvest. It’s the same type of disaster we see about 10% of the time – but sometimes more.
We’ll consider this when we make one of the biggest decisions that a winemaker can make – when to harvest their grapes. We have ten different varieties in five different vineyards at the moment, and starting Monday, we’ll begin sampling them all to decide on their ripeness – and when the optimal time to harvest them is, while simultaneously and carefully watching weather trends. Usually, harvest season for us is the third week of September through the middle of October, but that could start early this year, given this summer’s hot and dry weather.
In the meantime, we’ll also prepare our harvest and crushing equipment by taking them apart, lubricating them, testing them and cleaning them before they see the grapes again shortly.
Despite the uncertainty of the weather, by no means is this Mount Salem Vineyards’ first rodeo (actually, it’s our 17th.) As always, we’ll use both data and experience to harvest our fruit quickly, efficiently, and in an organized manner. We’re excited to see the fruits of our labor and ready them to create new batches of fine wines. But in the meantime, we’re enjoying these last days of quiet.
Learn more about Mount Salem Vineyards by visiting us at 54 Mt Salem Rd., Pittstown or mountsalemvineyards.com, or contacting us at 908-735-9359.