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Good Things Come in Small Packages

09.01.11

Director of Winemaking Dirk Hampson talks yields and berry size and what this might mean for the 2011 harvest.

Harvest is slowly approaching. The cool, wet spring made for a late start to the growing season and will lead to a low yield, late harvest. However, a wonderfully moderate summer has been ideal for the vines and the crop. It seems that the main side effect to the weather conditions this year is that the Cabernet berries are staying smaller than is typical.

What does this mean? It could mean that:
• the crop is even lighter than expected (might ripen a little quicker)
• there may be fewer gallons per ton (didn't need all those barrels and less wine for all of us...)
• color and tannin extraction may be higher than typical due to skin-to-volume ratio (may have to press sooner)

I was just in Maine and had their pre-Hurricane Irene wild blueberries, which were minuscule compared to regular blueberries. While they weren't making wine out of them, the flavors of "small" were undeniably intense compared to typical sized blueberries. I hope we will see some of that intensity with this year's small grapes.

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