Our goal as vintners and grape-growers is to produce excellent-tasting wines using the best grapes available. We aim to take advantage of our unique climate, beautiful location and the richness of our farmland in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Sounds straightforward? Yes, but growing grapes on the East Coast is not for the faint of heart.
Our brethren in California benefit from long, predictable growing seasons, including warm sunny days with low humidity and cool dry nights. In fact, in most of their winegrowing areas of California, it stops raining in March and does not start again until October or November. Not a drop! This makes winter the "green season", except for irrigated crops, like vines.
The East Coast is a different matter entirely.
Fungal diseases, summer rainfall, stifling humidity and widely varying temperatures all can wreak havoc on a vineyard. Each year can be very different: cooler, warmer, wetter, drier. There are periodic insects that cause problems such as cicadas that only show up every 17 years! In the past few years, we have faced a drought, hurricanes, a wet cool year, and a few typical years. Of course, we are faced with a much shorter growing season and we get MUCH colder weather in the wintertime than our western brethren, sometimes too cold for the classic vinifera vines, such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.