Sheldrake Point escaped a hard frost in mid October 2009 and leaves stayed on quite late with consequently good periderm development and winter acclimation. The winter of 2009/2010 was relatively mild with good bud hardiness.
The 2010 growing season started in early April with warm weather in the 70s and mid 80s and vines emerged from dormancy three weeks or so earlier than normal. We skated through the risk period for possible frost unscathed.
2010 will be remembered for being both very warm (warmest in 40 years) and very wet (most since 1973). In fact, the Finger Lakes experienced more growing degree days (GDD) than did Napa or Sonoma in California! The fast track held on and bloom was two to three weeks early although cooler weather in early June accompanied by rain reduced fruit set for a few varieties somewhat.
2010 had a similar frequency of rain as did 2009 (much cooler and also a wet year) but much of the rain came in heavier and shorter downpours. Frequently soils do not absorb nearly as much water in heavy short bursts as it runs off. Couple that with heat that promotes evapo-transpiration and our vineyards were not as wet as for 2009.
The major harvest period in September came with some rain. Even with Dave Wiemann’s meticulous vineyard practices and a thorough spray schedule we had to adopt rigorous selection in the vineyard and crush pad.
Harvest started on September 11 with a little Pinot Noir, continued on the 13th with Pinot Gris, the 21st for Chardonnay ,the 27th Gamay, 30th some block R1 Riesling, October 8th Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer and Merlot on the 11th, and ended on October 22 with a special, small lot of Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon. Since several of our varieties such as Riesling and Cabernet Franc have more than one block, picking occurred several times over separate periods of time. In general terms the vintage was compressed and very busy.
Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay show wonderful Finger Lakes varietal character. Riesling came in with lighter acid than 2009 and are going to be lovely wines for early drinking pleasure. Merlot and Cabernet Franc are well balanced and expressive and we are planning to produce a Meritage blend. Given the early kick to the season and the warmth, overall the 2010 wines are very solid. That’s good news since we’ll be producing ~ 5,500 cases.