2019 Harvest Report

10/24/2019 11:58:11 PM

2019 Harvest Report | By Christian Palmaz

As of Oct 25, 2019

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.

Although the rest of summer was dry with above average temperatures and good nighttime recovery, May’s little cold/rain snap seemed to perpetuate a 1-2 week delay throughout our growing season.  By the completion of berry set, it was clear that every growing day would be needed to ensure completion of harvest ahead of any fall rain threat.

Fortunately the use of cutting edge tools such as VIGOR, our eye-in-the-sky bi-weekly grape activity monitor, more than a 100 years of combined experience in viticultural management, and the expert hands of our full time year round farming team allowed us to focus the vineyard.

By the first week of September, whites, usually first to come in, were still showing two weeks away.  Although brix levels hinted at an impending harvest, head winemaker Tina Mitchell, calmly walked every block each day tasting and smelling the fruit waiting for the perfect moment.  While I obsessed over long term forecasts looking for the slightest sign of rain, Tina patiently delayed harvest day after day.

Walking the Vineyard

Finally on September 17th, harvest began.  In the usual order, parcels streamed in one after the other.  By October 10th with most of the lower vineyard fruit in the door, long term forecasts showed plenty of time to wrap up the rest.  Just 8 days later and with time to spare, the last parcel from 1400′ came in as perfectly ripened as the first with yields slightly less than last year.

Nature has a way of making even the most seasoned farmer fret.  Fortunately patience, persistence, and a little worry bring out the best in our estate vineyard program.  Although I may not have said it 4 months ago, I’m really excited and proud to share the 2019 vintage.