Saturday, December 31, 2016

No Such Thing as a Normal Harvest for Grapes in New York

From Jim Trezise at the New York Wine and Grape Foundation

This year's harvest once again proved that there is no such thing as a "normal harvest" in New York state, in contrast to some other regions where things are more predictable.

After a comparatively warm winter relative to the previous few years, what became the key issue was an unusual drought -- at one point classified as "extreme," beyond "severe"-- in the Finger Lakes and some other regions.  

But at the end of the day (or year), the 2016 harvest was generally one of superb quality, and the reduction in drought-induced quantity that was less than anticipated.  In the Lake Erie region (95 percent Concord and Niagara grapes for juice), the sugar levels were off the charts compared with "normal" years.

As always, Cornell Cooperative Extension's excellent "Veraison to Harvest" weekly e-newsletter during the fall was a valuable resource for growers and wineries to adapt to the conditions in order to maximize quality and quantity.  And the final edition included a great wrap-up of the year

At this point, the wines from the 2016 harvest are quietly developing in tanks or barrels, with great promise for great wines.

New York state now has 418 wineries and farm wineries, plus 82 branch offices/satellite stores, in 59 of the state's 62 counties. We're everywhere!

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