January 2011 Issue of Wines & Vines

Vintage 2010

Reflecting on the growing season in North America

by Wines & Vines contributors

With the help of farm advisers and industry professionals across the United States and Canada, Wines & Vines publishes an annual report about the North American winegrape harvest. This year, the format has been streamlined to relay the essence of one of the most irregular growing seasons on record.

Vintage 2010 was memorable for its sharp contrasts and extreme variables across the map. A long, cool growing season in California, followed by an intense heat spike shortly before harvest, resulted in crop losses for growers who over-thinned their canopies. Ill-timed and significant rain events at harvest deepened losses even further. For others in typically warmer California AVAs, the protracted growing season meant prolonged hang time. The Northwest experienced a drawn-out and chilly season as well, while the East enjoyed an unusually warm and dry growing season. Yields in the Central region were low due to spring frosts, but the season improved with abundant growing degree days.

We hope you find the reports from our regional experts helpful. If your area was not included, and you’d like to contribute to the report next year, please e-mail edit@winesandvines.com.
—Kerry Kirkham


    Summary: Summarize the quality and quantity of the overall 2010 harvest crop in your area.
    Weather: Characterize the weather during your area’s growing season, with emphasis on unusually good or bad conditions around harvest.
    Pests/Diseases: Describe unusual pest and/or disease pressure.
    Supply/Demand: Note changes in grape prices, demand and unusually high or low yields.
    Tools/Techniques: Describe any significant use of new technologies, techniques and/or equipment that seriously impacted or improved harvest this year.
    Logistics: Note logistical challenges such as water shortages, tank space, labor availability, quarantines, etc.
    Varieties: Address specific challenges or successes of major winegrape varieties/types.

Overall quality is good. Quantity was up and down, seemingly related to weather events during bloom and set. A lot of thinning was required.
Weather: A rough season. Cold, with frost events through May. Wet, with weekly rains all spring. We had a heat spell in late September, then two major rain events at the end of harvest.
Supply/Demand: Prices held firm. Lower yields for Zinfandel. Higher in Barbera and Sangiovese.
Logistics: Tank space was a challenge, especially as weather sped things up in late September.
Varieties: There were lots of shot berries in Zinfandel, probably due to odd weather at set.
Chris Leamy
Winemaker, Terra d’Oro Winery

Winegrape quality was very good. Reds fully ripened and had good color and concentration. The whites also had excellent structure and fully ripened—in some cases later than reds. Growers reported tonnage levels of at least 15% below average.
Weather: Spring was one of the coldest on record. Summer was also unusually cool. A few very hot days caused sunburn, while harvest weather was generally good with a few rain days.
Supply/Demand: Grape prices were a little soft. Some varieties like Cabernet firmed up; Chardonnay was low as demand wasn’t strong.
Tools/Techniques: As more growers earn sustainability certifications, attention is being focused on a number of ways to improve.
Logistics: We did not have any quarantines. Available tank space at harvest was an issue.
Varieties: Cabernet and Merlot were exceptional. Petite Sirah was subject to sugar accumulation disorder, and many white and red winegrapes had sunburn.
Tim Waits
President, Clarksburg Wine Growers and Vintners Association

Most white fruit made it into the winery in good condition, and early reports are that it is a very promising vintage, with good acid and alcohol balance. Overall, red fruit harvest was more difficult. Space became an issue as everything started to ripen at the same time. A series of ill-timed storms arrived in mid- to late October.
Weather: The year began wet in 2010, with above-average rainfall lasting well into May. Bud break was later than normal, and harvest began almost two weeks later than normal.
Supply/Demand: The biggest problem remains poor demand for fruit. Many growers had no contracts and poor sales prospects.
Logistics: European grapevine moth was detected. A skillful response resulted in few moths detected beyond the first generation.
Glenn T. McGourty
Winegrowing and plant science advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

Quantity was down about 30% from 2009, but the quality is outstanding due to high acid levels caused by the cool summer. The sugars came into line, and it produced some exceptionally balanced winegrapes.
Weather: Very cool with cold and heat waves at harvest time.
Pests/Diseases: Pest pressure was minimal due to cool weather.
Supply/Demand: Lower yields, slightly higher prices.
Varieties: Challenges were weather-related. We had to wait it out.
Jim Ryan
Estate manager, Concannon Vineyard

The long, sustained growing season resulted in an unusually high acid level in most grape varieties, and subsequently it produced fantastically balanced wines with incredible aromas and flavors.
Weather: A somewhat normal bud break belied a long growing season and harvest dates a full two weeks later than normal.
Supply/Demand: Somewhat higher grape prices in the Madera area, especially for grapes pre-contracted with wineries.
Tools/Techniques: Overall continued increase in mechanical harvesting due to limited field labor.
Varieties: Viognier continues to surprise a lot of people with its rich peachy characters. Petit Verdot is sparking interest with growers.
Michael Blaylock
Winemaker, Quady Winery

Good crops of Merlot and Syrah.
Weather: Maturity was very late—a whole month in some spots. Showers just as harvest was approaching did not cause disease-related damage but did cause sugars to drop. The grapes did not suffer as a result.
Pests/Diseases: No sign of light brown apple moth, European grapevine moth or brown marmorated stink bug. Potential for powdery mildew was quashed by tight treatment schedules.
Supply/Demand: A small amount of tonnage went unsold in Mariposa County, but most sold everything. Everything was fairly easy to sell this year in Merced.
Logistics: Small European grapevine moth quarantine zone in Merced with no moths found.
Maxwell Norton
Farm advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

Yield was below average for Pinot Noir and average to slightly above average for Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Riesling yields were down on sites where the incidence of sunburn was elevated. The harvest of late-season varietals was delayed, with small lots still not harvested by mid-November.
Weather: The 2010 season will be remembered as one of very cool temperatures spiked by short heat waves.
Larry Bettiga
Viticulture farm advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

Overall good quality and average to below-average yields. Harvest generally started two weeks late, causing a very compressed harvest with high labor demands during a short time period. Lower yields were attributed to heat damage and thinning. Generally, fruit was harvested at lower Brix than usual; cooler temperatures facilitated physiological ripening at lower Brix.
Weather: Cool, wet spring followed by unusually cool summer. August heat wave resulted in crop damage. Warm fall weather helped ripen the crop; harvest period was compressed.
Pests/Diseases: European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana) was detected and associated quarantine measures put in place; grape mealybug populations tended to be larger than in previous years.
Tools/Techniques: Optical berry sorting machines were used by a limited number of growers with much success.
Logistics: Labor and harvest machinery demands were great during a compressed harvest.
Monica Cooper
Viticulture farm advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

Yield across varieties was way down from 2009 (20% to 30%) and below long-term average by 10% to 15%, with the usual exceptions of young vineyards and site variability. Bunch rot was very minimal to nonexistent. Berry and cluster size were on the smaller side, and flower set was variable in weather-sensitive varieties such as Merlot. Colors, acids and flavors were excellent—maybe best since 1985.
Weather: Above average winter rainfall with slightly delayed bud break. Early spring was wet and cool, and the rest of the season was very cool, dry and windy. Central district caught up, but not new production areas.
Pests/Diseases: There was some powdery mildew, but it was minimal with good spray programs. Mites and hoppers were only scattered problems. Vine mealybug continues to spread, while LBAM is an ongoing issue, and EGVM has been found in the area.
Supply/Demand: Prices are up slightly for Cabernet and Merlot, while other varieties are static or down. There is demand for Muscat and Riesling types, and for quality blend-Petit Verdot, etc.
Logistics: Regulatory burden and costs are greatly up, especially in labor; input cost up.
Varieties: Fruit quality and the consistency of yield for major varieties are this area’s big strength. Wines are competitive with good value for consumers; recognition grows.
Paul S. Verdegaal
Farm advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

The 2010 season was very challenging for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara County growers. Production was about average, but quality suffered due to the lateness of the season and difficulty ripening. Mildew damage, heat and sunburn damage from a September heat wave and rot damage from subsequent rains were all challenging. Fruit harvested before the fall heat and rain was very good, while fruit harvested later was worse.
Weather: Winter had abundant rainfall continuing into April. A cool spring led to delayed bud break and growth. Moderate summer temperatures, with severe heat in late September, followed by damaging rain.
Pests/Diseases: Unusually high powdery mildew pressure for the region; mildew problems widespread. Fall rains led to elevated bunch rots in susceptible varieties.
Supply/Demand: Yields were about average overall. Buyers were very scarce for much of the season. Some fruit was not sold, and some vineyards were not harvested due to quality issues.
Logistics: The area remains free of EGVM with restricted movement of grapes into region.
Varieties: Rot-prone varieties such as Zinfandel and Petite Sirah in inland areas, and Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in coastal areas, suffered from fall bunch rots.
Mark Battany
Farm advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

A very cool season created challenges for growers who spent more money to bring the crop in. Growers with “normal” yields were happy. Overall, the crop was down 10%-15%, yet some blocks had severe losses due to heat damage and disease. Winemakers were very pleased with the fruit, because it had slower ripening at cooler temperatures and lower sugars, which means lower alcohol wines.
Weather: This was a cool, damp year with rain at bloom; three hot days in August destroyed clusters. A dry, warm September continued into October, then temperatures were cool with 3-7 inches of rain Oct. 24-25. Late start and finish to a long year.
Pests/Diseases: Growers battled powdery mildew and Botrytis infections. More fungicide applications and tractor passes to manage canopies ran up farming costs.
Supply/Demand: Grape prices and demand remained low.
Logistics: A 10-week harvest was compressed into six weeks, so tank space was a problem.
Rhonda Smith
Viticulture farm advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

The Suisun Valley harvest was lighter than 2009 across just about every vineyard in the AVA. The September heat spikes did sunburn and dehydrate some vineyards, resulting in loss of weight. Due to a cool growing season, the acids were higher in TA with lower pH. Flavor quality is very good with noticeable fine-grained tannins across reds.
Weather: One of the toughest growing seasons in years. Our inner coastal location kept us out of the excessive fog realized in other areas. Late ripening fruit was greeted by October rains.
Pests/Diseases: Powdery mildew pressure was very high.
Supply/Demand: Yields were down due to heat spikes and some poor set in spring. Grape pricing during a recession is never rewarding.
Logistics: The EGVM quarantine presented logistics issues for both in-state and out-of-state sales.
Varieties: The diversity in grapes being grown is expanding.
Roger King
President, Suisun Valley Vintners and Growers Association

Described by some as a grower’s season, the best grapes of the 2010 harvest benefitted from close management. A delayed bud break led many growers to thin shoots early and thin the crop aggressively after fruit set. Many winemakers expect the efforts to pay off with respectable wines from a smaller vintage.
Weather: A cool, damp season delayed bloom, while rains just before harvest raised the risk of rot. Crisp but sunny days through October allowed grapes to mature, with acids dropping to balance moderate sugars.
Supply/Demand: British Columbia is approaching 10,000 acres of vineyard, but veteran growers expect this year will test some of the less-favored growing sites.
Varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir are British Columbia’s top three red grapes, while Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer are the top whites.
Peter Mitham
Northwest correspondent,
Wines & Vines

The quantity was about average in 2010, however the quality was well above average. This was due to environmental factors such as a cool growing season and an amazing fall with warm temperatures. Brix went from 16°-17° to well into the 20°s in a very short period of time.
Weather: Bud break was 12-15 days late and didn’t happen until the first or second week of May. It was an unusually cool season, but long enough to get mature fruit. We had a beautiful Indian summer.
Supply/Demand: Demand was higher than normal. This could be because there are more wineries and yields were lower. Price was about the same.
Varieties: Ste. Chapelle made a soft huckleberry wine that has had huge success.
Moya Shatz
Executive director, Idaho Grape Growers & Wine Producers Commission

An Indian summer starting in early October and lingering through month’s end created optimal conditions for the Oregon wine industry, advancing the ripening of smaller sized grape clusters throughout the state and delivering balanced fruit with full flavors at lower Brix levels, great acidity and potentially lower alcohols. The high-quality fruit will result in food-friendly, agreeable wines.
Weather: Dry, warm winter followed by very cool spring conditions statewide from April through June. July-September and October harvest temperatures near normal to slightly cooler than normal. Warm, dry harvest conditions.
Supply/Demand: Yields were lower than in typical years but of high quality, due in part to early season weather conditions and crop thinning near season’s end.
Stephany Boettner
Marketing & communications director, Oregon Wine Board

A much cooler year for Washington resulted in very high quality for (in some areas) low to moderate crop sizes. Brix, TA and pH numbers were largely in line with very little cellar manipulation. Quality in higher tonnage blocks depended on the site’s ability to ripen, coupled with the variety planted.
Weather: Heat units were significantly down overall, but that fact was masked somewhat by the fall “heat” just before the full swing of harvest allowing for a spike in Brix.
Pests/Diseases: Wet weather around harvest allowed bunch rot pressure to increase above normal levels, resulting in more labor for clean-up and sometimes lower yields.
Logistics: Tank space was an issue for many wineries due to compaction of harvest.
Varieties: Amazing color and balance for reds. Whites had great acids, but growers had to work around some rot issues.
Vicky Scharlau
Executive director, Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers

Fruit quantity was down about 20% due to late spring frosts in some areas and hot, dry conditions in others. Fruit quality was excellent due to the very warm growing season. Harvest was two to three weeks earlier than normal, and growing degree days ended up 400-500 greater than normal. The Ohio River Valley experienced extended drought conditions. Berry size was small, so yields were reduced.
Weather: A warm spring led to early bud break. Frost events occurred April 27 and May 10. Damage was mainly in central and northern Indiana (and across much of the Great Lakes) and was variety dependent.
Pests/Diseases: Powdery mildew was more prevalent than normal, especially in the Ohio River Valley due to hot, dry conditions.
Supply/Demand: Prices for most varieties are stable or have increased slightly. Demand continues to outpace supply.
Tools/Techniques: A few growers have adopted mechanical pruning, shoot positioning and leaf removal.
Logistics: There is seldom enough available labor for harvest.
Varieties: Growers are having good success with vinifera varieties in the Ohio River Valley, and more acres are being planted, especially to reds.
Bruce Bordelon
Professor, Purdue University

The quality and quantity varied a great deal from west to east in the state. Some varieties of whites and reds were very hard to come by.
Weather: The growing season started with a late freeze on Mother’s Day in the northern counties, followed by rain. In July and August, there were multiple days with no rain and temperatures over 100?F.
Pests/Diseases: Black rot was high early in the season with some vineyards having bunch rot late in the season. Mildew was not a problem this year because of the dryness.
Supply/Demand: Prices stayed the same as 2009; demand was high for whites because of low yields as well as for Norton.
Tools/Techniques: A mechanical picker was used for the first time in Kansas by some vineyards. This allowed growers to pick several varieties in one day.
Varieties: Noiret and Crimson Cabernet will be two to watch coming out of Kansas for 2010.
Terry D. Turner
Research and development chair, Kansas Grape Growers & Winemakers

Quantity of winegrapes will be reduced slightly due to a series of spring frosts and bird pressure at season’s end. We had a longer, warmer growing season than normal; red wines especially should show excellent quality. Growing degree days were well above average, on a par with 2005, which was an outstanding vintage. Loss in juice grapes was substantial: about 50% in Southwest Michigan.
Pests/Diseases: High moisture and temps early in the season contributed to downy mildew, phomopsis and black rot. Heightened grape berry moth pressure around harvest.
Karel Bush
Promotion specialist, Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council

The 2010 season in Missouri was a good one overall, despite temperatures of 0°F in the southeast to -14°F in the northwest during early January that resulted in significant primary bud damage. The size of the grape crop was near normal around the state, though, due to very good fruit set. The quality of the 2010 crop was good thanks to warm, dry conditions that prevailed after veraison.
Weather: The weather was wet and mild throughout the state during the early part of the season, but it became warm and very dry, particularly in the southeastern area of the state by veraison.
Pests/Diseases: Disease pressure was high all season, with powdery mildew in particular being problematic with some cultivars, but crop health overall was good.
Supply/Demand: Grape prices in Missouri have remained relatively stable for most varieties over the past few years, as has demand.
Andy Allen
Extension viticulturist, University of Missouri

With harvest finishing in late October in the northern part of the state, New Mexico growers can look back on another successful year. The production of grapes increased approximately 10% over the record crops of 2009. This increase is due to good 2010 yields and new vineyards coming into production. Most expansion in acreage in previous years has taken place in southern counties.
Weather: Vineyards throughout the state were in good condition at the beginning of the 2010 growing season. Harvest was delayed two to three weeks due to cooler spring temperatures and strong spring winds.
Supply/Demand: Demand for grapes from the wineries was weak. Price pressure increased partly due to good crop yields in neighboring states.
Varieties: The interest in Mediterranean red varieties continues. Winemakers have shown renewed interest in Chenin Blanc and produce fresh, crisp wines.
Bernd Maier
Viticulture extension specialist, Cooperative Extension Service

Statewide, this was Ohio’s best growing season in decades. Summer was especially hot and dry, with the Ohio River Valley reporting near-drought conditions. Elsewhere, moisture was adequate. Yields were thinned by a spring frost. The result was exceptionally high sugars, even in reds, which is unusual for our cool-climate region. Whites such as Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris showed excellent character.
Weather: The spring frost wreaked havoc in some marginal growing areas, but the long summer made for fully mature fruit development in the best sites.
Pests/Diseases: With the unusually dry season, expenses for vineyard disease protection were down 15%-20% for most growers.
Supply/Demand: Yield was low for native variety growers, who lost as much as 80%-90% of their crop due to spring frosts. Even in the best vinifera sites, tonnage was off 15%-20%.
Tools/Techniques: In the Grand River Valley, wind machines are ever more visible. Statewide, all new plantings are tiled each row, and clonal selection to match sites is critical.
Logistics: It was an exceptional year with few vineyard challenges beyond the normal.
Varieties: The biggest challenge: More Ohio fruit planted to meet an exploding consumer demand for locally grown wines. Our wineries saw record traffic in 2010.
Donniella Winchell
Executive director, Ohio Wine Producers Association

Professor Andrew Snyder, president of OGGWMA reported a record crop for all varieties. Dr. Eric Stafne of Oklahoma State University reported, “Spring rains contributed to some poor pollination, but this was not evident in all cultivars. Very hot temperatures, especially hot night temperatures, led to uneven ripening in many red cultivars. Brix levels ran higher than normal due to the hot weather.”
Weather: Oklahoma had a cool, gradual warm-up that held back early bud break, with no late frost. There was abundant spring precipitation. Summer was hot, with no meaningful precipitation July through October.
Pests/Diseases: Fungal disease pressure was very high. Anthracnose, black rot and downy mildew were all worse than normal.
Supply/Demand: The Aug. 17 Oklahoman reported that 20%-25% of the grape crop would probably be left on the vine due to poor sales.
Varieties: Merlot, Shiraz, Malbec, Sangiovese and Cab Franc were mediocre to poor. Chambourcin, Cynthiana and Chardonel were good performers.
Harry Flynn, Ph.D.
Secretary, Oklahoma Grape Growers and Wine Makers Association

Banner year due to new bearing acreage and absence of bad weather. Pre-harvest estimates projected a near-record of 8,900 tons, a 44% increase over 2009, but that appears conservative. Good to excellent yields on most varieties, fruit quality generally good to very good. Sugar accumulation excellent, but pH sometimes higher than desired. High Plains reds developed their typical deep color.
Weather: The long, cool winter delayed bud break 10-14 days, avoiding frost injury. Excellent weather during bloom led to heavy fruit set; hail damage nearly nonexistent. Ripening and harvest conditions were very good.
Supply/Demand: Grape prices remained strong while the big crop met winery demand for the first time in several years.
Logistics: Temporary shortages of tank space. Low availability of skilled vineyard labor.
Varieties: Mediterranean varieties excel in the Texas climate. Viognier, Vermentino and Muscat are the best whites; best reds: Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Mourvedre and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Edward Hellman
Professor of viticulture, Texas AgriLife Extension

2010 was generally an excellent year for quality winegrapes in Connecticut. The growing season was two to three weeks earlier than average throughout the state. Quantity was average except for vineyards that experienced frost damage in early May. Disease pressure was fairly light, and fruit ripened earlier than most years.
Weather: This was one of the warmest growing seasons on record. There was a hard frost during the second week of May. The summer was warm and dry, with average rain events resuming mid-August.
Pests/Diseases: Due to the dry weather, disease pressure was relatively light in most vineyards. There were some outbreaks of powdery mildew and harvest rots.
Varieties: Early budding cultivars, especially riparia-based ones, were much more frost-damaged than more cold-tender but later budding cultivars.
William Nail
Assistant scientist II, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Crop sizes were average to slightly larger than normal, but smaller berry size due to drought conditions resulted in below-average fruit weight. Fruit quality was high in most varieties, the best since 2007.
Weather: Lots of snow in January, back-to-back blizzards in February, March was wet, April dry, seasonable temperatures March through May, record highs and drought conditions through the summer.
Pests/Diseases: Relatively little disease or pest pressure, except for the stink bugs, which devastated some crops but were little more than a nuisance elsewhere.
Supply/Demand: Grape prices remained stable, and demand is increasing as new wineries continue to open each year.
Varieties: Grape varieties remain mostly unchanged, but some that are new to the region—including Albariño, Malbec and Petit Verdot—are given increased exposure.
Jack Johnston
Vineyard owner/manager, Maryland Grape Growers Association

After a cool and wet season in 2009, the growing season in 2010 was almost a polar opposite. It was the warmest growing season in almost 40 years, which also made it one of the earliest that growers and winemakers could remember. While the quantity of the crop was down slightly overall, the quality of this year’s vintage has many excited about the wines that will be produced.
Weather: We accumulated 2,924 growing degree days, the most in 40 years. Temperatures cooled in mid-September, and late-season rains increased Botrytis pressure for some. Cooler harvest temps kept acids from going too low.
Pests/Diseases: Grape berry moth pressure was greater this year due in part to the warm temperatures. Growers’ results with a new GDD-based model for GBM were mixed.
Supply/Demand: Prices were flat or slightly up for most variety categories, except white hybrids, which trended down. Grape surplus eased somewhat this year.
Varieties: Red vinifera tend to do well in years like this. Potential for fuller, rounder styles due to lower acids and ripe fruit. More dry Riesling this year?
Hans Walter-Peterson
Viticulture extension specialist, Cornell Cooperative Extension

In 2009, yields were erratic due to cool, wet weather in June. We were relieved to see average to above-average yields in 2010—particularly in white varieties. The 2010 growing season was very warm, resulting in very ripe fruit that came in two to three weeks early. Long Island growers were extremely pleased that ripening progressed so well and that harvest was early.
Weather: This was one of the warmest seasons on record, with 3,700 growing degree days. Rainfall was below average through the summer and early fall. The region dodged a bullet as Hurricane Earl missed us.
Pests/Diseases: The dry weather led to low disease pressure all season. European red mites flared in some blocks at the very end of the season.
Varieties: The weather resulted in very ripe fruit, both whites and reds. Harvest was not rushed because neither disease nor predicted storms precipitated harvest.
Alice Wise
Viticulturist, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County

For 2010 there are expectations that the fruit quality will surpass those ever experienced for many cultivars. A prolonged warm growing season proved highly beneficial for late-season red vinifera, and harvest wrapped up almost three weeks ahead of average. For 2010 more than 51,000 tons were processed, and farm gate value was up with gross sales estimated at CAD$67.5 million.
Weather: Bud swell was in early April due to extremely warm early season temperatures. Bloom, veraison and harvest occurred 14 days earlier than the 10-year average. Vine acclimation was excellent.
Pests/Diseases: There were no major pest issues. Some vine decline/collapse was attributed to accumulated winter injury from 2003-05 and the wet season of 2009.
Supply/Demand: Some growers reported a 10% to 15% decline in production (some being directed by processors to reduce crop levels).
Tools/Techniques: The use of GPS and precision viticulture techniques continues to expand. VineAlert, brocku.ca/ccovi, posted to assist in vine protection.
Varieties: For 2010, a plateau pricing strategy for high-volume cultivars was agreed upon by growers and processors to ensure most of the crop was purchased.
Kevin W. Ker, Ph.D.
Research associate/consultant, CCOVI Brock University/KCMS Applied Research and Consulting

The 2010 crop was slightly lower than average, but a warm, sunny summer created a crop of decent quality. Because of an early veraison date and harvest period, winemakers were able to monitor the vineyards throughout the ripening period and the grapes were picked when quality was optimal. There was no rush to harvest.
Weather: Warm days with sunny skies were the norm for the 2010 growing season. Rapid growing degree day accumulation moved bloom, veraison and harvest ahead by 10 days to two weeks. Weather was cooperative.
Pests/Diseases: Warm weather created a late-season berry moth problem. Disease pressure was average to below average and manageable. Moths caused some late-season rot.
Supply/Demand: Grape prices for wine varieties remained level. Prices for processing grapes has risen slightly.
Logistics: Some tank space issues due to large crop in 2009.
John F. Griggs
Manager, Lake Erie Regional Grape Research and Extension Center, Penn State

Our growing season started earlier and the weather was warmer and drier than the norm, which led most vineyards to harvest earlier, and some reported lower yields than previous years in Virginia. Most vintners are excited about another high-quality vintage like 2007, which was a wonderful year for Virginia wines.
Weather: We had hot weather and very little rainfall. Early warm temperatures led to bud break about two weeks earlier than normal, which put many vineyards in dangerous positions with regard to spring frosts.
Pests/Diseases: A new insect to our area, the brown marmorated stink bug, was noticed in vineyards around harvest. This insect is being monitored closely.
Supply/Demand: Two factors lowered yields: Early bud break exposed vineyards to frost damage, and the dry conditions put some vineyards into a deficit water status.
Tools/Techniques: Not all vineyards are installed with irrigation in Virginia. Growers with irrigation did have an opportunity to use their systems this season.
Logistics: Fermentation space was an issue as some varieties reached maturity at once.
Varieties: The dry weather and the long season allowed varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, which can be difficult to ripen in Virginia, to reach optimum maturity.
Tremain Hatch
Viticulture extension associate, Virginia Tech

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