Stefania and I were able to squeeze in a visit to the Crimson Clover vineyard recently. All of our vineyards are at least 2-3 weeks behind their regular schedule including this one. Last year we had this vineyard netted by August 1st. This year netting took place on the 14th and the vineyard hasn't completed veraison yet.
Harvest in 2008 was on September 28th and in 2009 in was on September 26th. This year my estimate is that harvest will be sometime after October 20th. This is an early site for us, usually a full month before our other Cabernet vineyard sources are ready. That's not promising for those sites. If the schedule stays consistent to past years that would put us into late November for picking.
That would just be too late. The plants will have shut down by then and the winter rains started. We're making alternative plans now to make a Rose out of any fruit that won't make it to pull red ripeness.
The Crimson Clover vineyard should make it fine though. It's in a warmer micro climate and a late October picking date is pretty safe for us. In the picture below you can see the vineyard is in good shape and healthy.
We've started to see some unusual bird activity lately. There have been a few emaciated dead birds in the vineyards. We've also seen birds eating unripe green grapes. Sunday I saw a mother mocking bird feeding a youngster who was screeching in distress. I think the late season is taking a toll on the birds. Their regular food supplies are not getting ripe when they should and it looks like some birds are starving.
I have not seen that story hit the news yet so just count that as an observation and a guess. It could cause us problems later if the birds get more aggressive in attacking the netting. It could also mean we get migratory birds stopping in the vineyard that would normally just pass by.