I was really surprised to read today that many people are already starting harvest. And not just in hot areas, or for early grapes like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. There are actually vineyards in Napa harvesting Cabernet Sauvignon, which should normally be about the last grape to come in.
This seems way too early to me. I'm still several weeks away from having anything ready to pick, and it will likely be the end of September early October before we pick most of our vineyards. Chaine d'Or should be the last, probably around the 15th of October. Early than 2005 or 2006, but still 'normal'.
I wondered as I read the reports if people aren't in a bit of a panic. We've had a string of hot days and sugars have started to climb. The grapes taste good, but I think are still a few weeks away. It reminds me a little of 2003, when we had a heat wave in mid September and a lot of people picked early. Many people I talked with were sorry they did that.
This time of year is the great test of nerves for winemakers and growers. You worry and worry about the grapes getting too ripe, or having late season problems and loosing everything. But you have to be patient, you've got to wait for the right time. It's hard on the guts and the heart, but you've got to do it.