Harvest is always a nail-biting time for winegrowers, but never more so than in a cool, late year like this one. Why? Early autumn rains can wreak havoc on fruit left on the vine to ripen long into the season, but low sugar levels in cooler years necessitate doing just that. As a result, this year brought fretting throughout wine country over when to pick versus when to roll the dice and hope for the best.
In some instances, grapes - especially whites and lighter reds - were harvested a bit behind schedule with little incident, while in others, rain fell on crops that were awaiting that extra bit of sunshine that never came. Here are insights from the harvest trenches on the peculiarity of the 2011 season.