Several years ago, I participated in a program that placed South African winemaking interns in Monterrey California and Central Virginia wineries. The winemakers placed in California loved the experience but were in awe of all that there Virginia placed classmates saw. “Anyone can grow great wine in California” one said.
In the movie Vintage, Tim Gorman, winemaker at Cardinal Point, famously said “Every year growing wine in Virginia is the same, it’s different”
In the spring, the concern is a late frost that might damage the still setting buds, this summer the concern has been too much rain producing incredible vine vigor but challenging the fruit set in the vineyard. The 2011 harvest featured in inordinate (almost 40 days and nights) of rain. Of the 2011 vintage, Veritas Vineyards winemaker Emily Hodson Pelton said “It is what it is”.
Fortunately, in the last week, July has started feeling like the oppressive sauna it should. Further with the many talented winemakers in the state, I anticipate we will see some hard work in the cellar blending varietals (and vintages) to produce high quality red wines from the 2011 vintage.
Back in 1959 John F. Kennedy said, “When written in Chinese the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger, the other opportunity.”
Winemakers in the Old Dominion earn their stripes dealing with the “opportunities” Mother Nature brings.
As always, thank you for including me on your Virginia wine journey.
Neil Williamson, VWJ Editor
VA Wine Club Tasting Panel Chair