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Crop Update 2009 by Tom Mitchell, Pa’tridge Run Farms and Fall Bright,
Finger Lakes Wine Region, overlooking Keuka Lake east, near Wayne
10110 Hyatt Hill, Dundee, NY 14837 607-292-3995

Canes produced in vineyards that were well balanced with a below average crop in 2008 were well matured with high crop producing potential. The best canes were sizable, dark, and dense with small piths. Many canes had well developed buds well beyond 20 nodes. 
The 2008 – 2009 winter was relatively mild. The crop potential was very high.  April and early May were warm with a couple of 90 degree days – vines were off to a good start (perhaps too good of a start). Since I’ve been in the vineyard business, I have not seen a bud push as good as we had this spring (tender vinifera included).
A decision was made early on to shoot thin, especially in the vinifera and more valuable hybrids as the potential for very dense canopies with large crop potential was real. Vines were intensively suckered – retaining renewals only as needed. 
As Mother Nature would have it - the bloom period was noticeably cooler with intermittent rains – as most of you know, not the best conditions for set. Precipitation has been ongoing – sporadic at times and in places. We have not seen persistent rains – somehow dodging some of the heavy downpours, high winds and hail that went north of us. Nonetheless, almost all growers in the Finger Lakes Wine Region of NY have spent a lot of time on sprayers this year. On a consulting basis I have seen some major problems in some vineyards, but for the most part growers have done a good job suppressing grape diseases and insects.
The cool wet weather in the spring caused some erratic sets in some varieties that I guess bloomed at less than ideal times. A few varieties showed a very prolonged uneven bloom that resulted in very uneven berry size between and within clusters. 
It has been a cooler and wetter than normal June and July. For the faint of heart - all is not as bad as one might assume. As of 28-July-09 we were only 6 days behind the long-term average and we have a week and (hopefully more) of 80-degree weather this coming week. Where vineyards were shoot thinned, suckered, shoot positioned, cluster thinned where needed and kept clean, the foliage is of good color, very healthy, functional and just waiting to do it’s thing when the right conditions present themselves. 
We have tentatively postponed our normal harvest dates by one week. I would much rather have vines in this condition with good weather coming than have vines suffering from severe drought stress with low to non-functioning leaves. An above normal crop is present (all factors considered). Well-managed vineyards have the healthy canopies to ripen the crop with the right weather and any excessive crop can be reduced from now through veraison to accelerate ripening.

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We are located on the eastern side of Keuka Lake in the
Finger Lakes Wine Region in NY. Dundee is a mailing address. Our Location is near Wayne, NY.


May Your Wines Fall Bright!