By Justin Taylor
The term vintage when utilized to describe the quality of a wine can be broken down into far more than just a glass sitting in front of you. The 5-7 month growing season in which the grapevine produces leaves, shoots and clusters will eventually be summarized in a wine. The weather that occurs during this window of growth will have the largest influence on the final potential of what can be harvested and processed. To keep all things in perspective for us in Western North Carolina, let’s take a look back at April and May while they are fresh in our minds.
The month of April at Parker-Binns Vineyard was full of expansion in our D Block of vines as 1,000 Petit Manseng and 1,000 Petit Verdot were planted on one of the most unique slopes on our property. A new vineyard is a huge endeavor when conditions are right, and a larger chore when working with Mother Nature. Rainfall totaled 6.84” for the month in Green Creek, which was plenty for new vine establishment.
May 2018 will likely forever stick with most residents in the region for its record breaking rainfall. The weather station at Sugarloaf Mountain measured a shocking 13.28” for the month. In comparison to the monthly average of only 4”, it is hard to imagine what that weather was like unless you were in region.
Vines bloom during the month of May, setting the fruit for the vintage. The 2018 crop is forecasted to be down because excessive rainfalls impact on poor bloom and fruit set during this unprecedented weather recently. We have many more weeks of growing ahead of us, and we will react accordingly to drive for quality over quantity in this year of challenges.
The answer to Wine and Vine Trivia is Petit Verdot. Usually only 2-3% of planted vineyard in Bordeaux, it makes a potent wine used sparingly in blends. The Wine and Vine Trivia for next issue: Declaring Independence, which founding father had quite a love for fine wine?
Justin Taylor is winemaker at Parker-Binns Vineyard, Mill Spring, NC.