Hey everyone, Mr. CG here once more, reporting again on another year in growing grapes. For about ten years now, I been cultivating a hobby vineyard but unfortunately I’ve been faced with the difficult conditions felt by most farmers in this business: bad weather, poor growing conditions, disease and pests.
For years, I’ve been tending the back hill making sure our 100 vines produced enough quality fruit to make a barrel of wine. In 2007, we had our first healthy crop, enough to fill one barrel to make about 25 cases (or 300 bottles). 2007 and 2008 were both successful years, winning Gold Medals in the amateur division in the Sonoma/Marin Fair and then the Sonoma County Harvest Fair this year. In 2009 we lost most of our crop to bad weather and I was forced to buy more fruit to make my barrel. Using other grapes, there’s no telling yet how that blend will turn out, time will tell.
I’ve been watching the 2010 grapes grow all season. It was my largest crop by far and the grapes were growing in near perfect shape, size and sugar content all summer long. It was a spectacular crop and Kate and I were very excited until last week. Just days before the harvest, birds found holes in our nets, and in the dead of night we were attacked by a family of raccoons. Together, those varmints managed to feast on several hundred pounds of grapes in the course of a week!
Despite so many ravaged vines, harvest day is always exciting for us, as the remaining healthy fruit is finally clipped off the vines and turned into our cherished Petite Syrah.