Wineries are optimistic with the harvest
FINGER LAKES--It's grape harvest time and the wineries are optimistic with the results. Things are looking good for this year's harvest despite concerns over the heat for a majority of the summer and then the unseasonably early cool snap at the end of August.
Chris Stamp, winemaker at Lakewood Vineyards, said, "What we're seeing is a much larger crop than we've seen in a few years. We have a bigger crop but we also had a lot of foliage due to all the rain we had over the summer. The vines were vegetative, a lot of leaves, so they were able to completely ripen that pretty good size crop they were carrying. If you had asked me at the beginning of September, I would have said it looks like we're doomed to low ripeness and high acid because we had that really cold finish to August and cool start to September. But then, the weather really turned around. Every prayer we had was answered, we had lots of sunshine and heat and 90 degrees, continuing the hot weather right into October. It really brought around the mid-season to late-season varieties. We're back on track to be in a good spot. We started the harvest on Sept. 15 and should finish up during the latter half of October."
At J.R. Dill winery, owner Jeffrey Dill was optimistic. "The grape varieties we have are coming in a little later than we've had in the past five years probably due to that cold August we had but we got some great weather in September to bring it along as far as ripeness goes. We're about eight to 10 days behind where where we were last year as far as harvest schedule goes. The flavors are great. The acid is there, sugar levels are a little bit lower, but that's OK as long as the flavor is there. That's all we're concerned about. The yield is up, for sure. Other people might be seeing differently but we're doing very well. Everything is looking good, we're really excited about the 2017 harvest. It should be a tasty wine and we're very happy with it."
Ted Marks, owner of Atwater Estates, added, "Last year was bountiful and beautiful, some of the best reds in New York state were yielded last year and this year's crop looks even better. The vines were amazingly abundant with good, hearty grapes and the quality is way up. The cool weather we had followed by three weeks of warm sun really upped the quality of what we're expecting out of this year's harvest. We had good heat all summer with abundant rain and beautiful ripening all throughout September. We expect to be picking all month, probably finishing up late October, depending on the variety. It will take a year to determine just how good this year's harvest truly is but we have high hopes that this will be one of the best ones yet."
To find out more about the 30 wineries along the Seneca Lake wine trail, visit their website at www.senecalakewine.com.