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And they’re off…

by David on August 11, 2008

Let the harvest begin! In what’s been a rather eventful year, so far, we pile on the oddity that, here in Napa Valley, the local harvest began with Sauvignon Blanc rather than sparkling wine! Moooost unusual!!

Mitch Cosentino (Cosentino is a neighbor of ours here in the Yountville District) was quoted as saying bringing in grapes on August 7 makes a record early harvest for them – at least three weeks early. And then Mumm Napa Valley announced they’ll pick their first grapes tomorrow. The 12th of August isn’t all that early for sparkling wine, so go figure (grapes for sparkling wine are harvested at lower sugars than those for table wine).

Let me recap our quirky season thus far:

  • Frostiest spring in decades with substantial crop loss in some parts of northern California – fortunately, our vineyards were, for the most part, spared.
  • Blistering heat and wind followed by rain during bloom – there’s definitely noticeable “shatter”throughout our vineyard here at the winery, but it could be a lot worse. It won’t affect quality, but it brings quantity down. Hmmmm… small crops tend to ripen quickly.
  • Wildfires in June and July leading to questions about “smoke taint”!? We don’t anticipate any difficulties in that department, but growers in parts of Sonoma and Mendocino lived with heavy smoke, ash and soot for several weeks.

And now, we’re off to the races starting with Sauvignon Blanc! We’re now entering the twighlight zone… ;-)

Our winemaker, Geoff Gorsuch, anticipates receiving our first grapes around Labor Day – Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc are neck and neck in the race to be first – possibly a little earlier, which is pretty much normal – whatever that is…

I gotta say that, while all this is interesting and makes for lots to talk about in the wine blogosphere, we agricultural types usually prefer the boring years – you sleep a whole lot better.

What’s next Hopefully something “normal.” Stay tuned…

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