The 2022 harvest season is in full swing. We caught up with Vineyard Manager, Nick Florip, to find out how the season is going and what – if anything – will be changed for next season.
We are only half way through the harvest season, but this harvest has already had some highlights. Florip says the Pinot Gris has been picking heavy across the board. Despite the cold and rainy weather we’ve experienced throughout the growing season, there has been excellent brix development across the board, explains Florip.
As with most things in life, with pros comes cons. Even though the cold and rainy weather hasn’t impacted the quality of the fruit, there were challenges to make sure no damage was caused. “The deer have [also] been terrible all year,” says Florip.
Each season is different from the next. When describing the 2022 season compared to the 2021 season, Florip says “we were dealing with 60s/70s throughout September and October in 2021 which gave us the freedom to let things hang on the vines a little longer.” Since it was drier and much more pleasant weather last year, our vines were at less of a risk to be impacted by disease. In 2022, we were dealing with a 20-30 degree difference – 30s/40s/50s – compared to the year before. Due to the difference in temperatures, we were concerned about the late harvest reds, like the Cabernet Franc, when it came to development.
An additional challenge we faced was the region experiencing a six week stretch without any rain and high temps during the middle of the growing season. Because we don’t have an inground irrigation system and the roots of our baby vines don’t have a root system deep enough to get moisture that is in the ground, our vineyard crew had to water each vine by hand to make sure no damage happened.
“A majority of [the baby vines have bounced back just fine but some have not put as much growth on this year due to the long time with no rain,” explains Florip. “[They] should bounce back for the 2023 season.”
So far this season, our vineyard crew has harvested Chardonnay, Gris and Pinot Noir. The Riesling and red grape varieties – Cabernet and Blaufrankisch – won’t be picked for about another two weeks. Florip explains that we have seen great harvests from both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Our Pinot Gris harvest has been picking a little heavy compared to previous years.
Once the season comes to an end, Florip, Head Winemaker Drew Perry, and Aurora Cellars’ co-owner Sam Simpson, will sit down and reflect on the season. During this meeting, all the numbers from this year and past years will be reviewed. The numbers include fruit yields, weed control, pruning and tying styles for the upcoming year, and to see if the fertilizer and chemical applications we used this year gave us the desired results we were hoping for.
Aurora Cellars’ harvest season is scheduled to wrap up at the beginning of November.