From the beginning I've been amazed at the number of hats a winery owner wears: winemaker, farmer, business owner, marketing expert.... The variety of expertise required is amazing! Around our place, we're lucky in that we can spread the workload around, but in other ways, we all share the various responsibilities.
Although none of us started out as farmers, that is certainly part of the core of a winery/vineyard. So much of our success each year depends on our crop. Yes -- we purchase large quantities of wine grapes from other Michigan growers. But our own crop will always be important.
As it can be in Michigan, this spring's weather has been crazy. Every year there's a different variation. This year started out very warm and stayed that way for quite a while. That's always scary -- blossoms come out too quickly and are susceptible to cold spikes. Which, of course, is what happened next.
About 10 days ago we heard that grape growers in the Allegan area experienced a freeze, with temperatures down to 23 F. Of course, the grapes were just budding out and at their most tender. Now it's just a matter of waiting to find out how much permanent damage was done.
Up until about 24 hours ago, we'd been experiencing a very dry spring. Since then it's been raining amost constantly. The word is that it will continue raining for another 4 days straight.