Looking back on 2019, I believe we will remember this vintage as the year of worry. Perhaps still in shock from the fires of 2017 and 2018, 2019 felt like it got off on the wrong foot. With bud break already about 1 week later than 2018, we were encouraged by April’s warming trend and significant sun exposure. Although the trend appeared to be transitioning smoothly into summer with soils drying out, May brought more than a week straight of significant soaking downpours, cold temperatures, and cloud cover. Check out the interactive weather chart below.
It’s a bit strange to celebrate a harvest partially because you made it to the end without a natural disaster. Following a challenging 2017, the 2018 vintage has given us much to be thankful. Besides an excellent long growing season and moderate temperatures, 2018 has been the season of slow development — dare I say, a return to a normal pace. Harvest began exactly 8 days later than last year. Beginning with lower elevation whites, parcels came in with a predictable order and cadence.
Reading my last post as of Sep 30th, it’s clear none of us ever imagined just 8 days later Napa and Sonoma would experience one of the worst urban fires in California history. Although the property burned extensively, fortunately we and our staff were safe and only minorly affected by the fires. Sadly the few parcels still hanging fruit could not avoid the proximity of smoke and ash. We sent the fruit for extensive analysis and determined that while we could have harvested, it would be not have been towards a wine we’d be proud of. Therefore we decided to drop the remaining fruit. We are extremely fortunate that prior to the fire we had brought in almost 90% of the harvest. While 2017 will be infamously remembered for generations, I am extremely optimistic that the wine will be one to remember fondly. Our hearts and prays go out to those who weren’t as fortunate.
Earlier this morning at 6 AM we officially finished harvest. Although tomorrow evening threatens to bring the first significant rainfall of the season, the team brought in the last two parcels from 1,400′ with calm and poise. Excellent planning, good forecasting, and a little help from nature helped make the 2016 growing season predictable and unexciting. The fruit quality is consistent, excellent, and abundant. We greatly look forward to seeing this vintage evolve through fermentation and barrel aging.
With the last parcel from 1400 in, that concludes the 2015 Harvest. We can confidently say in-spite of lower yields, quality is excellent. It’s quite unbelievable that we are wrapped up with harvest on just October 8th. The lower yields and loose clusters can be attributed to a cold pattern we experienced during berry set (marked in blue on the weather chart below). Fortunately the rest of the season was free of major issues. We are very excited to continue to watch the 2015 develop through fermentation and finally in oak. Cheers to another year in the door!