Rain yesterday, reexamining the Zinfandel

September 26, 2011



It rained a little bit yesterday afternoon here in Sonoma Valley. That’s a potential threat when you are having a very late harvest like we are this year. It only seemed like enough rain to get the roads wet, but when you’re this close to picking it can make a difference.

The main thing we worry about in a situation like this is botrytis, or bunch rot. This is sort of a fuzzy gray mold that infects the cluster and renders the grapes unusable, if the grapes stay wet for too long then you risk encouraging it to bloom.

The field looked pretty clean though, the vines dried off as soon as the sun hit them and there’s no sign of rot.

One thing that we did notice this time was an increase in ‘shrivel’. Shrivel is when the grapes are just starting to turn into raisins. This is really typical of Zin when it’s getting to the point that it needs to get picked.

A tiny bit of shrivel can really elevate the profile of Zinfandel. Zin tends to ripen unevenly, meaning that you'll have a wide spread of maturity in the fruit when it comes in. The less mature berries will give you nice acidity and the sort of brambleberry character that Zin is known for, but a little bit of shrivel is nice because it fills out the spectrum, adding in the richer fruit flavors usually described as preserves or berry pie. It's important not to get too much though, or these characters will be overpowering. In a bag of thirty or so clusters we had two or three that looked like this one, which is just about right.

So, it looks like we’re still on to pick the Zin tomorrow. Fortunately it looks like the rain didn’t hurt us, and we managed to get just a small amount of shrivel in, which should help us achieve the profile we like.

To visit the Amapola Creek Winery main site, please click here.


One Response to “Rain yesterday, reexamining the Zinfandel”

  1. Ricardo said

    Really great info…it all reads very well to our audience Micah… RLA 🙂

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