Just some musings about this whole process from my (Brooke) persepctive. If you have any specific questions about our process into becoming Farm Winery owners in Arizona, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will write about it!
This year’s harvest brought a whole new list of challenges. Our number one fruit source the Caretto Vineyard was sold in May to a lovely family that is from Tucson. To Cameron and Ericka’s credit they jumped in enthusiastically. The growing season was wrought with a super intense monsoon season. One that saw us get north of 30 inches of rain in 30 days coupled with 2 mini hail events. The previous year’s hail events and early 2020 fall frost manifested in the vineyard by a loss of buds and specifically fruiting buds. The vines looked sickly and the fruit looked like shit. Thank god again for Willcox fruit sources. We got Malvasia, Grenache and Tannat again from the good folks at Rhumbline and Dos Cabezas sold us some super pretty Mourvedre and Sangiovese. I would say over all, I had 1/3 the fruit I was slated to get, but I was a little ok with that as the anxiety of selling the wine still needed to be figured out. The rain yielded vineyards with gnarly over growth on the vineyard floor. The grasses were feet high and our farmers were mowing and spraying regularly. It is especially important to keep the vineyard floor manicured as they can quickly become habitats for disease carrying insects. The humidity pressure was significant and rot on the fruit was present. We dropped a lot of fruit so I didn’t have problems with ferments in the cellar, but there were still some issues with ferments finishing. The hail that did hit was heavy enough to pierce the skins of the fruit, but didn’t shred the canopy like the year prior. The juice to skin ratio was low again as the berries dehydrated a bit as they ripened. The cabernet struggled to ripen again and stopped altogether at roughly 18 Brix, which was perfect for making a barrel fermented rose. This was not my plan initially, but I have struggled to get that block to ripen for 3 years now, and I think moving forward I will just dedicate that block to barrel fermented rose! I made an orange wine out of the Malvisia and am looking forward to adding a white and to the line up! Overall, 2021’s harvest was underwhelming in fruit volume and the weather, once again was something I had never seen before down in Southern Arizona!