Harvest 2012 is has proven to be one for the record books.
In all the years St. James Winery has been in operation, no one can ever remember harvest beginning in July, but thanks to very hot summer temperatures, the grapes were really on the grow.
Usually at the end of August, harvest crews would still be in the thick of things, but because an early start means an early finish, harvest 2012 is really winding down. The only grapes remaining in the vineyard are a few Chardonel grapes and, of course, the Norton, which always takes its good sweet time to ripen.
What does the harvest look like so far?
Around 1,200 tons of grapes — including Seyval, Niagara, Cayuga, Rougeon, Chambourcin, Valvin Muscat, Vignoles, Catawba, Chardonel, Concord — have hit the crush pad. We expect the Norton to be ready very, very soon.
Everyone in Missouri has complained about the heat and drought this summer (did we mention it’s was brutally hot here?), but because the vineyards are irrigated, the lack of rainfall was not problematic.
There was, however, another side effect to the drought. The minimal rains paired with our carefully controlled watering meant less disease pressure on the vines. There were fewer insects, and the rot issues which can arise with too much rain were non-existent.
Everyone on the winemaking staff is thrilled with the exceptional grape quality and outstanding flavor profiles, so we’re already looking forward to the third Thursday in November (the 15th this year!) when we release our 2012 Nouveau — a first taste of this season’s harvest!