Another vintage gives us another chance to marvel at nature's unpredictable ways. Over the early part of summer, we had more rain than we've seen for years, mildew and fungal diseases threatened daily and the humidity was at record levels. Since then, we haven't seen a drop of rain and it's as dry as it was during the drought years a decade ago.
That's not a complaint--I would not be happy if it was the other way round with the rain arriving now! The dry weather has allowed us to harvest at our own pace which means we can pick the fruit when it is ready, not when rain is threatening.
As I write, only the cabernet sauvignon remains on the vine. We started harvest on February 20th with sauvignon blanc, followed a few days later by chardonnay and cabernet franc and merlot for our rosé. We left the pinot noir for a few more days to get some extra ripeness, true to the Squitchy Lane style.
So far, the signs are good. I am particularly pleased with the chardonnay while the pinot noir is notoriously hard to gauge at this time. The sauvignon blanc has been made in quite a different style this year in response to a growing awareness of consumers' desire for un-manipulated wines. While Squitchy Lane wines have always been low-intervention with minimal use of additives (for example, all our wines are vegan-friendly), we decided to go for it and produce a wine with no additions, except for a small amount of sulphur dioxide before bottling. Hopefully, we can bottle without filtration and release the wine before the end of this year. While it may not be to everybody's taste, it will be different and exciting.
Soon, when the cabernet is in the winery, we will be looking anxiously at the sky and the weather forecasts for the rain to fall. Just give us a week.