I’m in Tatters…Shatter(ed)

Yes, this one by Mick and the boys is the subject of this season’s Wine Lines. While Mick may be referencing Keith Richards’ appearance, in the wine world this word is used to describe an unfavorable occurrence that can impact production during the growth cycle of grapevines: shatter.

As we have discussed in a previous Wine Lines, grapevines have the following stages of development:

Shoot Growth
Fruit Set

Certain weather conditions that occur during flowering, like high winds, very cool temperatures or even rain, can result in incomplete fertilization of the flowers. Without fertilization, grapes won’t develop evenly throughout the cluster and fruit production is negatively affected. What is left looks a bit like this:

As expected, data shows that some varieties are more prone to shatter than others. While Cabernet Sauvignon usually doesn’t top that list, that’s where we saw the highest instance. We were a little concerned early in the growing season in 2023 as the spring and early summer provided prolonged cooler weather. With half of the estate planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, yields were a little low in a few of the blocks. Thankfully, our remaining varieties made up for the lower tonnage and we ended up in the ballpark of our previous yields in 2021 and 2022.

With Mother Nature, it’s always tumbling dice. I hope she gives us a little more satisfaction in fall of 2024.