2017 Harvest Report

10/28/2017 1:49:23 PM

2017 Harvest Report | By Christian Palmaz

As of Oct 28th, 2017

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.

As of SEP 30th, 2017

One you reach the half way point in harvest you begin loosening up the use of adjectives to describe your confidence in the vintage.  The beginning days of even the best harvest conditions still bring out cautious humility in even the most confident vintners.  However 15 days later, keep those still excellent harvest conditions and you start hearing reports around the valley that this is going to be a great vintage.   As thrilled as we are about the fruit that has come in thus far, there are still a lot of parcels out there developing — particularly our higher elevation fruit.

Most of the valley seems to be reporting sugars reaching desired levels early, likely because of the heat spell we had, but that phenolics are slightly behind.  Fortunately with this pleasantly cool weather, we have the luxury of hanging the fruit longer to coax out some more complexity.

Although the short term forecasts show us smooth sailing through the first two weeks of October, nature could be quietly waiting to slam the door shut on this growing season.  Our strategy will continue to be: wait for developing phenolics and depth in the vineyards that need it but don’t get caught with 15 days of harvest work when nature only is giving you 7 more.

As of SEP 15th, 2017

The 2017 Harvest is in full effect!  After a short record breaking heat spell, we are finally settling into a comfortable harvest rhythm.  The winemaking team is reporting strong aromatics and excellent grape integrity despite the heat.  We can thank a conservative leafing program and longer irrigation sessions.  With most whites in, we expect red parcels to be streaming in nearly daily through the end of September.

We’ll be watching the forecast closely for the potential of afternoon thunderstorms.  A weakening high pressure ridge has allowed Texas style cumulonimbus clouds to develop over the Bay Area during afternoon heating.  While a short rain event is normally tolerable, the potential for small to medium hail could be interesting.  Fortunately, nothing we haven’t seen before.  Stay tuned for more as harvest progresses!