Harvest Report: Storm prompts busy weekend

2012-10-25T00:00:00Z 2012-10-25T18:01:50Z Harvest Report: Storm prompts busy weekendSTAFF WRITER Napa Valley Register
October 25, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Fermentation tanks across the Napa Valley were filled to the brim this weekend as growers scrambled to get the bulk of their harvest in before Monday morning’s rainstorm.

“Many wineries are looking to seal in the bounty of this wonderful season before the rains hit,” reported Jan Krupp of Stagecoach Vineyards. “Others are going to weather the rain and hope the blocks that are not ready get there after the rain.”

After the furiously busy weekend, most growers report being almost done with this year’s harvest, if they’re not done already.

Here’s the latest installment of the 2012 harvest report, organized by American Viticultural Areas:

Calistoga — Paul Smith, Vermeil Wines at OnThEdge Winery — “While last week was very busy V-12 isn’t history quite yet. The abundant crop has left a block here and there waiting for the next empty tank and a fat row here and there looking for a home. The mud-fest following today’s rain however should bring in all remaining stragglers. Comments about reds already barreled trend towards rich and balanced with soft, smooth tannins — no surprise given ripening weather all regard as perhaps as good as it gets.”

Diamond Mountain District — Dawnine Dyer, Dyer Vineyards — “With a flurry of activity, vineyards on the lower slopes of Diamond Mountain finished harvesting ahead of this weeks rains. There is still some fruit out in vineyards higher up the slope but a little rain shouldn’t be a problem for cabernet. The window is definitely closing and people are keeping a close eye on the forecast.”

Howell Mountain — Pat Stotesbery, Ladera Vineyards — “Hectic last weekend with most people picking to beat the rain. Almost everyone, with a few minor exceptions, is finished and sitting with most of their tanks full and fermenting. Unanimous consensus though is very high quality across all varietals. For many, this was nearly the earliest finish for many years and thank goodness for the wonderful growing year to allow everyone to get ahead of the weather. This should be our final report of the season.”

Chiles Valley District — Volker Eisele, Eisele Vineyards — “It is raining as I write this. All picking has come to a screeching halt. Fortunately almost all ranches report close to 90 percent completion. The previous week was what we needed: dry and warm. These were among the longest picking days I have experienced. For the zinfandel growers it was touch and go but by Sunday night only insignificant amounts were still on the vines. For the cabernet the threat is not nearly as serious because of the grapes’ thicker skins. The first rain produced about 1.25 inches, enough to wash off all the dust and make the vineyards sparkle again.”

Spring Mountain District — Stuart Smith, Smith-Madrone Winery — “A wonderful harvest is over for almost all Spring Mountain wineries, but not all. A big push this past week brought in most of the remaining grapes, especially if tank space was available. Several vineyards will wait out the inch-plus rainfall that came early Monday and likely will not finish until early November.”

St. Helena — Kristy Melton, Varozza Vineyards — “It seems the majority of appellation fruit is in for most wineries, with last week being a frenzy of picking. We picked the last Varozza cabernet on Tuesday and are very happy to get everything in before the rain. The earlier harvested lots of cab franc, petite sirah, zin, and cabernet sauvignon are pressing out with great quality and above average yields. All parameters of quality and quantity are making us very happy this year.”

Rutherford — Brian Brown, Round Pond Estate — “As is with every year, it has been a race against the rain. We’ve pulled in about 90 percent of our fruit in nine days and every fermentation vessel in the building is full. Cabernet looks great and is giving off a lot of color and character early. I believe that this vintage’s wines have all the ingredients to be exceptional.”

Oakville — Molly Hodgins, Flora Springs Winery — “If you had asked me Sept. 1 what I would be doing this week, I would have said ‘having a glass of cider with my feet up,’ but we’re still harvesting. What once looked like a nice early harvest continues. At least the fruit quality is wonderful. So for the third week in a row, I predict that we will finish up with Oakville cab this week. The onset of rain means it’s time to wrap things up.”

Yountville — Jennifer Waite, Tamber Bey Vineyards — “Monday’s rainstorm washed down the cabernet sauvignon fruit still on vine. The last phase of harvest will be completed this week before the second storm passes through. This will complete the harvests of the Yountville Appellation vineyards.”

Stags Leap District — Elizabeth Vianna, winemaker, Chimney Rock Winery — “As harvest 2012 comes to a busy close in Stags Leap District the only person I heard from this week was Kristy Melton, winemaker at Clos du Val. She and her crew finished picking last week and they are busy with all tanks full. At Chimney Rock this was an 80-hour work week as all of our last blocks were ready and we wanted to get them in before the first rain. We succeeded, and almost every tank is full of beautiful, ripe and small-berried cabernet fermenting away. The second stage of harvest now begins as we taste and watch our fermenting juice turn into our most beloved elixir — wine.”

Atlas Peak — Jan Krupp, Stagecoach Vineyards — “Harvest on Atlas Peak proceeded at a breakneck pace this past weekend. Many wineries are looking to seal in the bounty of this wonderful season before the rains hit. Others are going to weather the rain and hope the blocks that are not ready get there after the rain.”

Mount Veeder — Brian Nuss, Vinoce Vineyards/ Twenty Rows — “Last week we picked some cabernet sauvignon for Robert Craig and also bought in the Vinoce Solar Hill cabernet sauvignon. The merlot and cabernet franc is still on the vine holding up nicely. Little rain this week (1.5 inches) hopefully will starting picking again this Friday and be all finished by next Tuesday. Overall fruit was great, yield was below average.”

Oak Knoll District — Jon Ruel, Trefethen Vineyards & Winery — “Although we are getting a little rain this week, we really can’t complain. It’s been a great year and most of the grapes are off the vine. At Trefethen, we still have a small amount of cabernet sauvignon and merlot hanging out there. We will be watching the weather and expect to bring it in shortly. We are pressing off the malbec and the early merlot and the wines taste fantastic. Cheers to 2012!”

Carneros — Lee Hudson, Hudson Vineyards — “This week saw a slow motion harvest turn to a frenetic push bring in more beautifully ripe merlot, syrah, cabernet franc and grenache per day than any other week of this harvest. Nothing motivates a picking decision like a pending storm. By Monday morning very little fruit will be left. From bud break to today it has been a great year and now as grapes are in the winery becoming wine I feel blessed. It’s clear in my mind that 2012 is the Vintage of the Century. Onward.”

Copyright 2015 Napa Valley Register. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick