2020 Grape Harvest ‘a bright spot’
Smaller but sweeter crop emerging from Finger Lakes vineyards promises fine vintage
Amateur winemaker Bryan Kransler, a retired Canandaigua firefighter, is making wines with juice from Fulkerson’s Winery in Yates County.
Kransler, who ordinarily makes Rieslings and Chardonnays, is looking forward to this year’s vintage.
“This year is a phenomenal year for the quality of the grapes being produced for wines because of the hot, dry weather,” Kransler said.
Based on the latest from Cornell, this year’s “grape harvest stands out as a bright spot in 2020,” according to Sam Filler, executive director of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation.
“Given all the tumult this year, I am encouraged to read that harvest stands out as a bright spot as fruit quality continues to be good to excellent across the state. I am sure many will savor the 2020 vintage in 2021 as we put these challenging times behind us,” wrote Fuller in last week’s industry update of The Press Deck.
Cornell AgriTech — Cornell’s agriculture and food research center in Geneva — reports “the dry, sunny September weather has given growers and winemakers ample reason to be optimistic about quality this year.”
Eric Frarey, managing partner of Heron Hill Winery, explained how the hot, dry summer yielded excellent fruit. He said the lack of water produced a small berry, which provides more contact between the pulp and skin of the grape—“better for extracting flavor,” he said.
On the overall size of the crop, Hans Walter-Peterson, Cornell viticulture extension specialist with the Finger Lakes Grape Program, noted a smaller than expected crop is true for most varieties this year based on what growers and wineries are saying.
He added that Constellation Brands, the region’s largest processor, wrapped up its harvest in early October “after one of the smallest and ripest Concord harvests they have seen in a number of years.”
As for quality, there is a lot of optimism “not just due to the lack of disease pressure (which helps), but also the levels of ripeness that we’re seeing this year,” added Walter-Peterson.
“How that will all translate into the quality of the wines over the next several months will be in the hands of the winemakers of course, but there is widespread agreement that they have some great raw material to work with.”
Includes reporting by Messenger Post reporter Mike Murphy