By Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor
Listen carefully, and you can hear the din of late-night celebrations at Heart & Hands Wine Company on Cayuga Lake. They are toasting the warm, nearly arid September for resurrecting the pinot noir that is now coming in.
"September not only saved the vintage, but we're looking at some of the ripest fruit I've seen so far," says owner and winemaker Tom Higgins, now in his third vintage. Heart & Hands makes 90% pinot noir and 10% riesling, so there was a lot riding on September. But Higgins says his pinot, coming from three sites in the Finger Lakes, is still two weeks behind ripening schedule.
Roughly six tons have arrived, weighing 2.8 tons per acre and showing 24.5 brix. That's a lot of sugar, and one of the reasons for the higher brix will be explained in an upcoming post on hand sorting, which you can see in the photo above. More pinot arrives later this week, and the final lots will be picked next week.
As for riesling? "November is a possibility," Higgins says. "We're focused on the pinot for now. There are wonderful aromas lifting out of the winery already. This is a strong start."