The winter floods of 1995 happened during vine dormancy and, therefore, had little impact on the vine health. Here at Spottswoode, the wet, cool spring weather hampered our vineyard work schedule more than it affected the vines themselves; the ground in the swales was so saturated that our field crew could barely traverse the rows on foot. The cool, rainy weather during spring also affected fruit set and, ultimately, crop yields. Tonnage projections were all over the board, ranging from average to more than fifty percent less than normal depending upon the vineyard location.
The spring weather wasn’t the only factor affecting the crop outcome; hail and then heat waves in July baffled the vines too. All of this extreme weather had winegrowers scratching their heads wondering how to predict fruit development and flavor concentration. At Spottswoode, we never really made any predictions—when the grapes tasted ripe and delicious, we picked them. Only when the fruit was in the vat did we have tangible evidence that this crazy season has blessed us with yet another compelling and exciting vintage!
—Pam Starr, Winemaker