Ohio's 2010 vintage may be one of the best in decades

As you may have heard from us previously, this year’s hot summer, combined with rainfalls at just the right times throughout the season, have produced an early and high-quality harvest for us this season. We’re not alone in this good fortune–vineyards all around the state are reporting that this year’s crop is one of the best in recent memory! You can read more details in the following press release:

Ohio’s 2010 vintage may be one of the best in decades

Growers reporting exceptional fruit quality across the state

Geneva, Ohio (September 2010)

Mother nature appears to be smiling down on the Buckeye state winegrowers during this Vintage of 2010. Nearly all have reported that this has been the best growing season in recent memory. While there are still several weeks to go, across Ohio, growers are predicting a crop of exceptional quality.

Although many of the native, labrusca varieties where heavily hit by the Mother’s Day frost, most of the French-American hybrid and vinifera winegrapes are showing exceptional promise. Even though they experienced primary buds damage that night, the long hot summer with just enough rainfall during key parts of the growing season has allowed even the secondary buds to reach full maturity. And since these naturally thinned buds led to fewer bunches, each vine has been able to put all of its energy into a smaller crop, thus enhancing the qualify of the limited quantity of fruit in each row.

Much of northern Ohio is identified as a cool climate region, with the southern half thought of as more moderate [read warmer]. However, this year, the entire state will be producing fruit of exceptional depth and character typical of a ‘moderate’ growing region like that in famed west coast valleys.

Compared to more traditional years, the Chardonnays will be more complex and richer in character. The reds, which generally have issues with color intensity and sometimes high acid levels, seem be be ripening extremely well, with unusually high natural sugar levels [brix], good pH and acid balance. The Rieslings which are formerly described as ‘crisp with fruit up front,’ should evidence more raisin richness and show a lovely natural sweetness balanced by an appropriate acid backbone.

‘California-esque’ was the phrase used by many winemakers interviewed. Reports from across the state:

Greg Pollman of Valley Vineyards in southwest Ohio, reports picking 10 days to 2 weeks earlier than in a traditional year. Abundant sunshine and dry weather have resulted in especially high brix [a sugar measurement] and good varietal characters, especially in their Cabernet Francs which came in at exceptional quality.

Van Cressup from Shamrock Vineyards in Waldo [central Ohio] reports that while his vineyards were hit hard by the early spring frost, the remaining crop, especially the Seyval, look to be of exceptional quality.

Lee Klingshirn from the Avon Lake area has indicated that the crop is at least 2 weeks early which portends well for high quality reds and exceptional whites.

Tony Debevc of Madison in the Grand River Valley, indicated his crop was probably the best in the last half century, predicting rich and full bodied Chardonnays, intense color in reds and generally near perfect pH, acid and sugar balance in all varieties.

For additional information on these and other wineries across Ohio, visit www.OhioWines.org.

About Ohio Wine Producers Association

The Ohio Wine Producers, founded in 1971, is a trade association which represents the interests of grape growers and winemakers across Ohio.

Vineyard Update – May 2010

As I walked through the North vineyard today I took notice of the grapes growing there. The Niagara grapes are experiencing their third spring. They look happy and well but aren’t loaded with grapes which is a good and bad thing as far as I can tell. Good in that we won’t have to worry they will be stressing themselves with too many grapes, bad in that the reason for this is probably frost this year and stress from last year’s June hail storm and the cold winter of 2008.

The Frontenac in this vineyard look super! Finally they have decided to show their stuff and look very healthy and are loaded with grapes! We will have to thin down the crop but that is a nice job for us. Now, if we can survive without a hail storm and a late frost, we can try out our wine- making skills with a nice large crop of Frontenac. We are very excited about this possibility. We had a chance to try a wonderful Frontenac wine from the southern Illinois region. We know our customers would love this wine and hope to try and make something similar.

The third grape in this vineyard is the Traminette. They really didn’t appreciate the weather problems we had and decided to either die or be stressed. We planted some new plants in this area to replace the dead ones. You may notice this when you look at the North vineyard from our deck.

In the west vineyard the main varieties are Foch and DeChaunac. They are happy and well. The newer grape plants look like they will give us a great crop this year. I had to smile to think of the possibilities of new Hair of the Dog wine in the future from these two wonderful French Hybrids. I encourage you to walk the vineyards during this new season. It is truly relaxing to look at these tiny bundles of grapes and think of their potential!

Hope to see you in the grapes!


P.S. I will be reporting on the East vineyard soon; stay tuned to blacksheepvineyard.com!!!