Wineries believe dry summer may have been a blessing for grapes
Most farmers would rather forget 2016 after a hot, dry summer and a historic drought. Lindsay Stevens at Treleaven Winery in King Ferry could not wait to start working with the grapes harvested today. The grapes are smaller than usual but have more intense flavors.
"The sugar is high, the acid is low," said Stevens.
Existing vines had deep roots and could handle the drought. On Thursday, the Treleaven Winery brought in fresh Reisling grapes. Using machines workers first separated the grapes from the stems, then gently squeezing out the juice.
Stevens says grapes actually do well in a stressful growing environment and naturally add flavor to help their seeds be spread out
"What they are trying to do is be very enticing to all the things that might pick the grapes - including humans," said Stevens.
Stevens and Treleaven co-owner Tacie Saltonstall said they sympathize with other area farmers but in some ways the dry season was a gift that kept on giving for wineries.
"it intensified the fruit characters and you don't get the molds and mildews you can in previous years were it rained all the time," said Saltonstall.
Since there has been little threat of mold, wineries could wait to pick the grapes until they were at peak flavor.
"Its really us choosing when to pick based on how the fruit tastes which is a treat. That is not typical," said Stevens.
Stevens says 2016 may be a banner year for the red wines from the Finger Lakes but they need to age. Wine lovers will have to wait two years to taste for themselves.