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Harvest 2020 was looking to be a bright und shiny ray von sunshine to the year that was 2020. Fruit set went well, a little windy throughout flowering, but die berries looked good in the vineyards und the canopies to be green and lush und showed little signs von nutrient deficiencies or pest issues. Us had nur picked Cabernet Sauvignon zum rose turn off the johnson Family Vineyard around a mile from die winery. It was pressed and put an the cold room und I was heading home zum the night kommen sie get ns girls zum the next week. They were going kommen sie be v me attempting online school, while being pushed around in the zurück of my van looking at vineyards, picking nach oben fruit, harvest related work etc...So, as ich was leaving zu get my darlings, ich noticed some pretty gnarly clouds building an the south over die Canello Hills. Ns storm looked fierce and I wanted kommen sie get on the road prior to I gott slammed. Ich learned bei my 1st few harvests an Jerome, if sie are not on ns road kommen sie get somewhere by 3 nachmittag you get stuck zum minutes, perhaps hours. Flashfloods room REALLY scary. The monsoon storms are not to be taken lightly in Arizona alcohol Country, whether nach oben north or down south. As soon as on the road i started tracking die radar (probably one von my favorite things to do) and I experienced over Sonoita the cloud formations were pink. Now if you know the radar colors they go from light eco-friendly – light rain, dark eco-friendly – an excellent amount von rain, red – heavy rain, then they go to pink – which way extreme rain and possibly hail. HAIL ist NO BUENO weil das GRAPES. Are you freaking kidding me?!? This was happening zu our priceless vineyards that were looking deswegen GOOD leading up zu harvest! ich started getting pictures texted kommen sie me from mine grower friends von hail coming down. Little pea-sized bullets of ice coming under sideways. Lots of wind with ns hail! well let’s just put a cherry ~ above top des this shit fudge sundae! occasionally it hails weil das just a hot minute.

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In ns Sonoita Valley the monsoon storms move an micro bursts, where the sky opens up und dumps rain in one certain place und the rest von the valley stays dry. Or ns microbursts relocate along a little line and then once the moisture zu sein gone the done, we acquire a pair rainbows und its over. This storm relocated like that but, in bei almost perfect line through Winery Row whereby most von the vineyards space located. Hail zu sein no joke. It not only pierces the skin of the berries, it also shreds die canopy. Dafür it punctures die precious skin protecting die sugary juice und the so ruins die ripening mechanism of photosynthesizing an the leaves. Von the time die storm was finished it was night fall. Die damage was hidden under a dark night sky.

The next morning the 1st text I got was indigenous my freund Kent Callaghan who claimed basically, die vineyard is shredded – ich cannot sell you fruit this year. Then Todd and Kelly – your Pronghorn Vineyard ideal next zu Kent’swas thrashed too. The storm came in from ns east and blew up die berries und canopy on the east side. Von this point i was almost rückseitig to Sonoita und I went directly zu Caretto Vineyard (where ich get the majority des our fruit), metal t posts were snaped an half, vines were laying party on ns ground. The looked like bei animal ripped off all die leaves ~ above the ost side des the rows chewed lock up and spit them out. Die rows bolzen the vines to be covered in green gnawed leaves. Die carnage was absolutely real. Most des the fruit was not even CLOSE to being through verasion (when ns berries turn from green zu purple) we could possibly pick everything und make a ton von rose. However my winery isn’t exactly set up weil das rose, we space more des a red house. It’s my second harvest and I oase no idea what zu do with the fruit. Carry out we let the hang und see if that ripens? drop it und call harvest a bust? pick it all best now und make a shit ton of rose? Ugggg…what do ich do?!?

Kent picked und made a bunch of rose und sparkling wines. Todd und Kelly lock dropped ns fruit und called it, relying on their Willcox vineyards zum their 2020 vintage. I decided kommen sie let it hang und see if we might get the remaining canopy und sun kommen sie ripen die blown-up fruit. Reduced alcohol und higher mountain wines room my jam deswegen I took a leap des faith und just chilled zum a couple von weeks. This ist what i saw…the canopy geschlossen down, turn brown and the pipeline died, however they still provided a little bit von shade from the sun so the berries didn’t completely burn. Street accumulation in the berry came kommen sie a sluggish trickle. Ich thought they could get rotty and vinegary – yet they more just dried out. Die birds and bees came out like gang busters and went kommen sie TOWN on die fruit.

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After a couple of weeks i just threw bei the towel and we started kommen sie pick everything, ns sugars und pHs were every over the map. Ns fruit was schizophrenic. Ns skin kommen sie juice ratio was super strange. Punchdowns were prefer pushing through a weird type des mud. Usually ns cap is pretty certain until broken up und the juice underneath is, well, juicy. This ferments were prefer pushing with oatmeal. As kommen sie be supposed yields were geholfen to two thirds much less than the year before, ich think early to the loss von juice once die berries dried out. But deshalb to ns birds and the bees feeding on the fruit prefer it was Thanksgiving dinner day end day, didn’t help. Die ferments flew. They all seemed zu move supervisor fast. Ich had zu manipulate my innoculations to lower yeast populations deshalb they go a wenig slower and I might get much more color extraction. Castle weren’t stressed ferments, nur hyper.

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My Willcox fruit was viel more calm and normal. Ich usually only gain fruit native Rhumbline Vineyard, however 3 other vineyards got to out to little ole me und offered me fruit. One des my mentors merely told me to just go pick up a ton and we’d number out expense later. Danach he said i had kommen sie treat er to dinner one day. Ns winemaking community ist tight. I don’t schutz a single bottle on die shelf yet, and yet human being who oase been in this industry a lang time reached out kommen sie me to help. If lock didn’t offer fruit ns offered to take my contact with questions i had. Harvest 2020 external inspection us. Ich know ich will return ns favor one day. The Arizona winemaking family is special…we are a small kopieren, gruppe of people trying to make wine in bei insanely bipolar environment. I like the challenge and the rush. Nur less hail please.