Wednesday, September 21, 2022

L'Acadie Blanc Has Arrived

 So we have had L'Acadie Blanc in the vineyard for over 10 years first planting it in the test vineyard to see how it would grow. It really has not grown well in that part of the vineyard and struggles with the low moisture in the very sandy and rocky soil. The additional hurdle of low nutrients in the soil there slowed its growth, even with ammendments.

What we did see from the test vineyard is that it is a very hardy vine, disease resistant and easily ripens the grapes in our climate. The draw back was that the clusters on the vines were small and often poorly filled with very low production per vines.

This vine is the queen of the white wine grape varieties in Nova Scotia and produces large crops that are made into wines of various styles that range in profiles form dry wine similar to sauvignon blanc, an off-dry that reminds one of chablis, to sparkling wines that are winning international awards. 

This vine is a favourite of our and despite the challenges experienced int he test vineyard, we took a bit of a chance and decided to plant a small lot of 1000 row feet in the new area in the vineyard where the soil is excellent, a silty sand with more nutirents and holds more moisture.  It worked out well and the vines have grown well in the new area. Last year, the 3rd years since we planted them, we were holping for a small crop but the late spring frost really knocked them back. 

This year we have a nice crop althought we are finding the vines tend to over bear on each shoot (often 4 clusters) and also push secondaries on nearly every node.  Note that the #1 and 2 clusters are often 100 grams, sometimes more. We pruned back to 5 shoots per foot of trellis and 2 clusters per shoot but will need to tinker with this going forward - maybe only 4 shoots per foot. 

We have a sizeable crop for year four and the grapes are ripening very well. As of October 10 they are about 14 brix. What we do know about this variety is it really accumulates sugar fast and should be in the high teens by the end of the month early October.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Shaping Up For A Late Harvest

 So as we approach the middle of September we do our first check on the ripeness of the grapes as that can give us an indication of when we may be harvesting. From the numbers we are seeing right now we can expect the harvest to be delayed as long a possible this year.

We generally harvest the first week of October as we often face a frost event around then. Some years the season extends a little longer and we can let the grapes hange and accumulate more sugar while dropping the acid and making a better sugar/acid balance. We are certainly hoping for the later this year as the current level of ripeness reflects the delayed season we have had from the onset. A later harvest would be welcomed.

Here are some of the Brix levels we have recorded for September 10.

  • Petitie Milo           13
  • L'Acadie Blanc         14
  • Castel                      14
  • Marechal Foch         13
  • Leon Millot           15
  • Evangeline           14
  • Vandal Cliche         14
  • Seigerrebe             14
  • Marechal Joffre       17
  • Sovereign Ruby       14

We had a cool and late year in 2020 an some of the number we recorded on September 13 of 2020 were,

  • Petite Milo         14
  • L'Acadie Blanc     13
  • Castel                  15   
  • Marechal Foch    14
  • Leon Millot          15
  • Evangeline            16
  • Vandal Cliche       14
  • Seigerrebe             15
  • Marechal Joffre       16
  • Sovereign Ruby      14
The numbers above for 2020 were taken three days later (September 13) and those three days can impact the sugar numbers, especially when its hot. So comparing the numbers gives us insite that we are on track for a similar year as 2020 and in that year we harvest on October 10.  We will be targeting for the same this year if not later if mother nature permits and the fall frost is delayed. Here is some of the grapes.

Here is three pictures of the Marechal Foch showing a big spectrum of ripeness from just turning (third from top picture) to faily ripe (top) depending on where they are located in the vineyard. And the classic tell that the grapes are getting ripe is the wasps are into them, the really like the Foch (fourth from top).

Leon Millot showing a similar spectrum higher percentage are more towards the fully ripe stage.

Castel as ripening nicely