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Jeff White

2012 East Coast Weather & Vintage Thread

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I'll start another and try to keep up with it this year.

2012 started balmy but our first artic blast is now upon us. Howling cold winds all night and continuing this morning. A 20 foot, 10 inch diameter sycamore limb came down over night and was blocking part of the road as I drove in earlier.

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Cold rain here yesterday, a wet 41F. Chilling to the bone. Would rather it be snow. Making headway into pile on my desk.

Snow is in tonight's forecast, possibly 1 to 2 inches. Sunny and in the mid 50's today.

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25F at 6AM with a forecasted high today of 36F. Yesterday, fierce winds blew but it's calmed down now. Fine pruning started on Wednesday. I'm heading out for a sunny and brisk day of it. A couple of hot eggs and bacon first. snort.gif

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I had a wonderful bottle of your 2009 Sauvignon Blanc tonight at Element.

Hey, great to hear this, even greater if this means you stayed over, are still in town and visiting today!

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Great day cane pruning yesterday. We finished our young Merlot and started on some young Cabernet Franc vines. Knees do take a beating as the fruiting wire is only 18 inches off the ground. We leave the canes a little long right now and make one final cut when tying them down in March.

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Fortuitous weather I am having, with lows in the 20's, last night it got down to 18. I've moved a couple barrels of Late Harvest Petit Manseng outside to cold stabilize naturally...and cheaply too.

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Ice, sleet, snow, rain yesterday and some drizzle today. Temps down into the mid 20s. Warmer by Monday,up into the mid 50's with rain...wacky. Bottled our 2011 SB on Friday, 527 cases including 40 cases of 375's. Grassy, tropical, very crisp with moderate alcohol at 12.7%. These grapes came in before the September rains.

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Our mild winter continues, although it's 28F this early morning. But we've not seen any single digits this year and are running about 10 degrees warmer than usual for this time of the year. This makes one concerned, not about an early bud break which probably will happen if this trend continues, but more catastrophic would be a sudden deep freeze as the bud and plant vascular tissue is not as cold hardy as it was back in December. This of course is all "what ifs" and nothing has happened yet but thinking about the possibilites allows mind games to play, late at night, when you're weak and most vulnerable. I recently awoke to my first 2012 vineyard nightmare. I'm in the vineyard, it's January and we still have much to prune. But what's this? Green shoots are everywhere and in need of thinning and tucking already....PANIC!! Then the comfort of coming to my awake senses. All is well.

We are almost finished pruning our young vineyard, a little over 1.5 acres of Cabernet to go. Then it's on to the old vineyard, 6 acres of open lyre. In the cellar we're cold stabilizing 3 wines to be bottled in March and about to begin blending trials of our 2011 reds. Just got building plans in the hands of a few prospective contractors. We're expanding the building this year, adding two 20 by 30 foot rooms, one below grade for fermenting and barrel aging reds and one above grade for tax paid case storage.

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Having sustained rain this morning...but would have made a beautiful snow storm had it not been 72F yesterday...the first swearing.gif day a February.

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Snow! It's actually snowing! Started last night and is continuing this early morning. Very light, still not covering the grass and also not sticking to road surfaces. But we'll take it. Supposed to be around 28F tonight. Just back from Charlottsville, attending the Winter Technical Meeting of the Virginia Vineyards Association. Lot's of good information this year. One thing reported by our State Viticulturalist was that cold hardiness tests were conducted on sample buds and they were good down to below zero. So all this warm winter weather we've been having has not started the thawing of our vines. Knock on hardy wood. highfive.gif

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It's February and Japanese Cherry trees and daffodils are blossoming in Washinton DC. A little snow here last night and today, 19F tonight. Wacky start to 2012. 1.5 acres to prune then lots of tying before a most likely early spring. Always exciting, farming!

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Pruning is complete...yippee! Tying has begun with most vines getting one final snip to adjust the length of the cane. The weather continues to be mild and dry and it's looking more and more like an earlyish start to 2012. Early means April 1st, normal means April 15th and late means April 30th. We'll be ready.

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One of our Eastern Meadowlarks has returned this early morning and is calling out for love. Winter...what we had of one, is fading and Spring is happening!

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Our winery mockingbird has returned, singing from the top of the cupola yesterday morning. 70's this week, near 80 today. Upper 40's at night. Buds are all still hard and tight, though. Only Cabernet Sauvignon still to tie.

It's beginning to look a lot like springtime! flirtysmile.gif

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March 15, 2012...currently 81F. At least it's not humid...but that's coming soon. We're down to an acre of Cab still to tie. Pruning cuts are dripping. Next 7 days looks twenty degrees above normal. Still, buds are tight. I'm guessing April 1st for Merlot/Cabernet Franc.

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Bud break is imminent. Lots of swelling buds in our young plantings of merlot and cabernet franc. I even saw tiny leaves opening at end of cane bud positions. I also noticed some flea beetle damage, but not enough to act. With this heat and the weekends upcoming rains these varieties should be out by early next week, if not sooner. Time to start working on my farmer's tan.

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Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Manseng buds are now flea beetle and climbing cutworm susceptible and receiving damage. Putting on first spray of the season this evening. We've heat, and rain coming over the weekend. Things should jump next week.

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32F and no wind early this morning down at the winery. Have not been up in the vineyards but suspect it's warmer. Looks like we dodged one. cheers.gif

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Everything is out now, with the exception of Cabernet Sauvignon, but even the Cab has fat soft buds on the verge of opening. It's cold out this morning, currently 37 and the forecast is for 32 tomorrow morning. Last night, between our two vineyards we burned a huge pile of prunings and other cut up trees from around the farm. Not sure if it helped but it was fun. Me, my crew, pizza, rose wine, some Guinness and a bright moon. We're lighting an even larger pile tonight once the winds calm.

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Another cold morning, 31F was the low. No damage. Whew! Could not light the other pile of prunings due to high winds. And now the forecast shows the potential for a hard freeze the mornings of the 13th and 14th. head-bang.gif

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Thanks for creating and maintaining this thread. I just breezed through it and got quite a visceral look at the front lines of winemaking. Keep it up!

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Another cold night/morning in store for us...for the next 3 mornings. Low 30's. Winds will be up too, negating any thermal inversion that usually protects my high mountain site. Bottom line is, this weather is normal, what we've experienced all winter was not and we normally do not have leaves exposed this early in the year. Just finished mowing between and under the rows in the lowest part of the vineyard. Hope it helps.

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Got down to 33F in the lower vineyard this morning. But tonights the night. Freeze warning for our area, with a low forecasted at 32F and we are usually a few degrees colder than the forecast. Hopefully the winds will die down this evening making it safe to light a huge prunings pile just outside the lowest part of the vineyard. Thinking that by morning this fire will not be punching a hot hole in the sky but adding just enough protecting warmth above the vines. Have to be extremely careful as fires are burning all up and down the east coast in these dry conditions.

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