How is Harvest?
By Katherine Chase

Though they can usually be found in the vineyard, or on a crush pad checking on the progress, I was able to track down a few of the owners to get an answer to the age-old question: How is harvest?

The first order of business in answering this question is to see how the grapes fared during the spring and summer months. For the most part, the weather treated the grapes well.  The cool, wet spring delayed the start of the growing season and made getting the spring chores difficult. “The relatively humid season meant that growers had to be diligent in their disease prevention programs, and in many cases, this often resulted in more summer pruning and leaf removal than normal to keep the fruit more exposed to sunlight, which helps fight off disease,” says Dave Patterson, co-owner of both Swedish Hill and Goose Watch Wineries. All in all, it was a pretty favorable growing season, with no major events such as flooding or hail storms.

That being said, the overall harvest season is running 1 to 2 weeks later than usual, which is attributed to the delayed start that spring brought us. So my next question to the group was “What is the ideal weather condition for the rest of harvest season?” My favorite answer was from Cameron Hosmer, of Hosmer Winery. “Grapes like the weather we like.”  Fair enough, but to break that down, the ideal condition would be moderately warm, sunny days and cooler nights, with half an inch of rain, which would occur only at night. These are the conditions that are best for sugar accumulation and flavor development.

Though impossible to truly tell, I had to ask if there were any predictions on the quality of grapes, or if there were any varieties that they were particularly excited about for the 2019 vintage. Gene Pierce of Knapp Winery simply stated: “All, in general, as it looks like a good harvest—quantity and quality.” Since he isn’t overly concerned that something may not live up to the Finger Lakes reputation we’ve garnered over the years, I take that answer as a good sign for the grapes overall. Both Hosmer and Peterson said that Riesling is looking to be just as good as ever. “Not to sound like a broken record for applauding Riesling, but this year has been outstanding for Rieslings. Riesling thrives under cooler conditions, developing wonderful floral and fruity flavors and holds its crisp acidity,” mentions Peterson. He also said that this year is looking promising for other cool climate, aromatic whites such as Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris, as well as sparkling wines.

So the overall verdict, assuming Mother Nature is kind to us for the next 6 or so weeks, is that we have a lot to look forward to in the 2019 vintages that are coming out of the top wine region in the country and America’s first wine trail.

While Harvest is in full swing, the tasting room staff and managers are also working overtime to bring you a collection of great events for this month:

  • 5: Experience the Crush – Cayuga Ridge Estate Winery
  • 5: Family Harvest Festival – Buttonwood Grove Winery
  • 5: Summer of Food Trucks – Lucas Vineyard
  • 6: Music & Mimosas – Hosmer Winery
  • 12: Columbus Day Celebration – Hosmer Winery
  • 13: Leaf Peepers Seafood Festival – Toro Run Winery
  • 13: Heart of Harvest Festival – Lucas vineyards
  • 13: Music & Mimosas – Hosmer Winery
  • 19: Farm to Table Harvest Wine Dinner – Knapp Winery & Vineyard Restaurant
  • 20: Paella on the Patio – Toro Run Winery
  • 26: Hallowine Spooktacular – Americana Vineyards
  • 26: Flannels & Foliage Wine Dinner – Knapp Winery & Vineyard Restaurant
  • Every Friday: Premium Pairings – Buttonwood Grove Winery
  • Every Saturday & Sunday: Pumpkin Chuckin – Varick Winery
  • Friday, Saturday, & Sunday: Live Music at Americana Vineyards