2008 is going to be a tough vintage. Donna Rudolph, assistant vineyard manager at Bedell Cellars in Cutchogue, said the rain and humidity have encouraged botrytis, also known as the noble rot, but on the East End of Long Island it’s anything but.
This week Donna and crew are stopping everything to get the nets on the vines as bird pressure has really increased. Last year, which was mostly dry, saw little problem with birds. But Donna said another vineyard manager has a theory that the wet spring gave the newborn birds plenty to eat. And now the vineyards are plagued with juvenile birds pecking at the fruit.
The worst offenders, said Donna, are the young male robins who eat all day long, not just in the evening and morning like the other birds. She said she sees them the size of softballs flocking in among the vines.
Netting becomes necessary after veraison when the golden young grapes start to turn purple and the sugar content begins to increase.