Whether they grow peaches, tomatoes, apples or grapes, Virginia's farmers say the 2018 growing season is one for the record books.
Fortunately, Maggie's Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Manseng, Cab Franc and Tannat came in with acceptable numbers, according to grape grower Mark Malick, referring to optimum brix and pH levels in the grapes. The winery's
Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested early, purely to try and replicate Maggie's Best in State (State Fair of Virginia)
that was produced in 2017.
But not all grape varieties fared as well. While Maggie's 2017 Albariño wine won double gold in the New York World Wine & Spirits Competition and is almost sold out in the Cave, the 2018 growing season was not as kind to this year's Albariño. There was not enough to make it worth pressing and fermenting.
"That is the world of farming," Mark said. "You don't have to go to Las Vegas to gamble. Become a grape farmer!"
The grape harvest was impacted at the start and close of the growing season by rains. Wet weather had an adverse affect on spring fruit set (when flowering clusters turn into berries). Harvest season, which, ideally, is dry during August, September and October, was rainy due to Hurricane Florence and other wet weather that intensified and shortened the window of opportunity for picking. It was a race against time, working 12- and 15-hour days, to harvest as much of the grape crop as possible, or risk losing it to mildew or rot.
Thanks to the Wine Cave agricultural team and a handful of dedicated volunteers, who helped bring in the grapes, Mark and Maggie closed the books on the 2018 harvest.
Now they are planning best strategies for the 2019 growing season!