Most of Napa Valley is complete, or nearing completion of harvesting the grapes from the vines for this vintage. If this seems early, it is. This entire season has been running about 2 weeks ahead of normal. But this fact only impacts the human’s schedule, since the plants have their own schedule and the time between veraison (when the grapes turn from green to purple and the onset of ripening) and when the grapes are fully ripe are the same vintage to vintage.
In the valley most of the Merlot, Malbec and Petite Verdot are already picked with Cabernet
Sauvignon as typically the last varietal with the longest ripening cycle. This hearty varietal has thick skins and large berries, so we want the juice to get as sweet and ripe as possible to balance out the tannins.
2014 Napa Valley winegrape growing season details according to the Napa Valley Grapegrowers Association:
· July 2014 average high temperature ranged from 80 degrees in Carneros to 92 in Calistoga and Pope Valley – right in the sweet zone for fine wines
· March – June 2014 months were all 3-5 degrees higher than average, getting the vines off to a strong start
· 2014 total rainfall is around 50-60% of normal
· February and March 2014 rainfall was 11-17 inches, falling at exactly the right time of the season to mitigate drought concerns and irrigation needs