It’s a slightly early harvest season here in wine country. Warmer climates in the latter part of June sped up sugar growth in Dry Creek Valley
while the cooler front in the last few weeks slowed the ripening process in Russian River Valley
. The word on the wine-growing street is that this year’s harvest will be slightly larger than usual. The average crop yield in Sonoma County
is about 200,000 tons to give you an idea of how much fruit is actually harvested. In comparison to 2012’s harvest, which was a whopping 266,000 tons and valued at about $581 million the North Coast crop was valued at about $1.4 billion last fall. Although there have been some brutally hot days this summer, the cooler evenings and the early morning fog has created an ideal weather combination to push along veraison (the onset of ripening).
The Experts Agree
Will the fruit yields be as plentiful as last year? According to wine industry experts, it’s unlikely, but 2013’s harvest still is poised to exceed the average. According to Jim Lincoln, the vineyard manager for Beckstoffer Vineyards in Carneros, “The veraison coming early is a good thing because we’re limited on water. This has been a very dry year [and] I have no choice but to allocate my water accordingly.” With the pinot noir grapes already having started to show their color as early as July, Lincoln is pleased with the early harvest season.
Jon Ruel, COO of Trefethen Family Vineyards
and President of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers
, says “The quality so far looks very good,” partially due to the humidity stemming from recent rains that helped the grapes weather the drier, hotter days. Luckily, the rains came when the grapes were still green as opposed to during bloom, which could have been detrimental to the quality of the fruit. A recent Associated Press article quoted Ruel as saying: “We’re a full month ahead of 2009, ’10, and ’11. There’s not such thing as a normal year, and this isn’t a normal year.”
Although veraison has not quite occurred in the Spring Mountain District
atop the Mayacamas Mountains, vintners still expect an early harvest season due to warmer weather and are estimating harvest to occur between 10 days and 2 weeks early. Mumm Napa
, based in Rutherford (and usually the first winery to initiate harvest), kicked off Harvest 2013 on the 1st of August.
Here’s to a fabulous Harvest 2013 enjoyed by all of our favorite producers! Check out some of our newest listings in the most exclusive regions of wine country (Leggs Lane and Meadowood Lane
) and perhaps witness next year’s harvest firsthand…