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With the harvest forecast for around two weeks earlier than the past two years, the 430 wineries of the Napa Valley Vintners are predicting a “fabulous” and “epic” crop.
Keith Hock, winemaker at Schramsberg Vineyards, said: “We look forward to writing another page in Napa winemaking history. Mother Nature has been kind to us in 2012 as we have one of the most balanced crops in years. The anticipation and excitement for the start of harvest is overwhelming and we are eager to get the party started. Vintage 2012 is going to be epic!”
Jon Ruel, director of viticulture and winemaking at Trefethen Family Vineyards, said: “Over the past thirty days, the daytime temperature in our vineyard got over 80F on all but three days and only exceeded 100F once. These warm sunny afternoons are perfect for the ripening period. On most nights, the temperature has dropped into the high 40s, which allows the vines to recharge and keeps the grapes fresh.
“We are well through veraison in Chardonnay and expect to begin harvest just after Labour Day. Veraison has moved very quickly in Cabernet Sauvignon, even faster than Merlot. This may be because Cabernet naturally set a balanced crop this year. Merlot, on other hand, seems to have been a bit over-ambitious requiring us to drop a considerable amount of fruit during multiple thinning passes.”
Phil Coturri, vineyard manager at Oakville Ranch Vineyards, said: “The warm days along with the quick bloom this spring set the stage for even crop load through all the varieties. As I talk to vineyard managers and winemakers throughout the valley everyone is smiling and giggling, truly everything looks fabulous as we move into the final weeks.”
Cameron Perry, winemaker at Chateau Montelena said Calistoga’s grape crop is “looking great”.
“This summer’s pattern of a hot week followed by a cooler week seems to have been just the ticket–all the vineyards I’ve looked at seem to be well acclimated to the heat and have healthy canopies.”
This year the association is compiling a series of videos, blogs and tweets (#NVHarvest) from the harvest which will be available at harvestnapavalley.com.
Story by Gemma McKenna
Courtesy of Harpers Wine & Spirit Trades Review