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Gold Leaf

Vintage Diary

Each year our weather conditions decide how our wines ultimately taste. Follow along with us as we learn how our grapes will express their growing conditions.

February 2021

Our February average temperatures were a bit colder this year with average temperatures over the course of the month of 25 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Snowfall was lower than normal as well, with only one significant snow day on February 16th of a few inches. Right after these pictures where taken, we had a very warm 55 degree day.

Risk of vine death was mitigated with only one day around February 12th that feel to -1F.  

Winter pruning is our main activity in the vineyard this month. We cut back the previous year’s one-year old canes down to 2-to-4 per vine. We leave the cut canes in-between the vineyard rows and mulch them, leaving behind plenty of natural and organic matter to aid in soil health. 

Average February Temperatures: 
2021: 25F
2020: 29F
2019: 28F
2018: 33F
2017: 35F

March 2021

March 2021 was fairly uneventful with averages temperatures around 39 degrees Fahrenheit.

Towards the later end of the month we warmed up considerably with highs in the upper 60s and lower 70s. These spikes in temperatures are always a risk in our region. Warmer temperatures signal the vine to wake up from its winter hibernation. If the vine begins bud burst before our final frost we potentially could lose many of those buds for the 2021 growing season. 

Average March Temperatures: 
2021: 39F
2020: 40F
2019: 33F
2018: 31F
2017: 35F

April 2021

April brought a diverse range of temperatures. The first half of the month brought warm temperatures with highs in the 60’s and 70’s. These warm temperatures woke up our early-budding variety Amur. 

The third week of April brought a cold snap with lows in the 30’s and upper 20’s. Luckily most of the vines did not bud break yet but the cold affected our budding Amur vines. 

In the vineyard, we spend most of the time tying down the newly pruned vines. As you will see in the May diary, we pull down the newly pruned canes and tie them horizontally along the vineyard wire. This allows the upcoming shoots to grow vertically up from the canes.

Average April Temperatures: 
2021: 48F
2020: 42F
2019: 46F
2018: 40F
2017: 51F

Rkatsiteli vine planted in 1983. Taken April 21st.

May 2021

Temperatures have been increasing and the first signs of bud break are noticeable on May 4th. Early budding varieties like Amur have began bud burst while Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Noir are right behind. 

Sadly, the cold snap in late April effected at least 50% of the buds on our Amur varieties, as you can see from the pictures. 

We’ve been blessed with plenty of rainfall to help fill the water tables well beneath the soil. 

The last variety to bud, Rkatsiteli, is the last to be tied. 

Average May Temperatures: 
2020: 55F
2019: 56F
2018: 63F
2017: 55F

May 4th - Riesling Keuka Estate Block 7 Planted in 2006. Canes Tied & Beginning Bud Burst.
May 4th - Riesling Keuka Estate Block 7 Planted in 2006. Beginning Bud Burst.
May 4th - Chardonnay Keuka Estate Chateau Block 1. Dandelion Season & Hilling Down.
May 4th - Amur Keuka Estate Planted in 1980. First Variety to Begin Bud Break.
May 4th - Amur. Here you can see the effects of the late April cold spell. In the center is a normal bud that survived, and two on each side that did not make it.
May 4th - Gewurztraminer Keuka Estate Block 8A Planted in 1968. Bud Break Beginning.
May 4th - Gewurztraminer Keuka Estate Block 8A Planted in 1968. Bud Break Beginning.
May 4th - Rkatsiteli Keuka Estate Block 10 Planted in 1987. The last variety to bud waiting to be tied down.
May 4th - Chardonnay Keuka Estate Planted in 1974. Canes tied down and beginning bud break.
May 4th - Chardonnay Keuka Estate Planted in 1974. Beginning bud break.
May 4th - Pinot Noir Keuka Estate Block 1 Planted in 1958. Beginning Bud Break.
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