Dr. Dave Miller Michigan Wine Blog
22 October 2014
By: Dr. Dave Miller
The 2014 harvest is winding down as all but the latest grape varieties (e.g. Cabernet sauvignon) have been harvested. Mid – October usually marks the end of harvest but the late spring and cool, wet summer pushed harvest later than normal this year. Varieties like Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot grigio, Merlot and Cabernet franc had a greatly reduced crop this year after suffering bud and trunk damage from last winter’s bitter cold. The small crop enabled quicker ripening but no matter how small the crop there is a minimum time required for the fruit to mature.
Many of the varieties grown in southwest Michigan are well adapted to our climate and produce good quality wines in even in difficult years like 2014. It’s amazing to sample vineyards and see fruit maturation progressing even after several days of rain. Some varieties with tight clusters like Riesling and Pinot grigio are prone to bunch rots in rainy seasons so extra vigilance is required to monitor the fruit. If it appears that bunch rots are starting the wine maker must decide to either harvest the fruit or risk increased rot by letting the fruit continue to hang and ripen. The cool weather this fall, while delaying the rate of ripening, also delays the development of bunch rots and allows for extra ripening time in the vineyard. With dliligence in the vineyard and in the cellar, the cool conditions lead to beautifully balanced acidity and great depth of flavor in the wines. Early indications are that the wines will be worth the effort!
Good amounts of hybrid grapes came in this year so there will be plenty of our Dune Shadow Red, White and Red Expression and Ice Wine. There was very little Riesling and Pinot grigio this year but good harvests in 2012 and 2013 produced a lot of wine that is in the warehouse and ready to sell over the next year. The fruit that was harvested smells great in the fermenters and will produce classic wines. The red vinifera crop was virtually non-existent this year so we will likely run short of Merlot, Cabernet franc, Syrah and Serendipity once the 2013’s are gone in late 2015 / early 2016. That being the case we encourage our customers to lay in extra of those wines to be sure you have some around until the 2015’s are ready.
We have recently released 2013 Pinot grigio and Traminette and will soon release the 2013 Dry Riesling. Stop by the tasting room and check them out. They are soooo good!