Harvest Update – Picking has Begun

Many of our friends have asked us how the 2013 harvest is going.

In our area, the 2013 vintage has been rushed. We were treated to an early budbreak this spring, followed by verasion (the changing of grapes from green to red) a full three to four weeks early this summer.

Early Harvest? 2013 harvest for wineries has begun in Napa Valley

Now, many of our neighbors that harvest white or Pinot Noir are well into harvest. But for us, we have just begun to pick Cabernet Sauvignon on Howell Mountain. and our Syrah vines aren’t quite there yet.

Howell Mountain benefits from a high elevation, bringing the grapes closer to the sun, so we’re a few weeks ahead of the red varietals on the valley floor.  This mountain appellation also gets more heat, and cooler nights than the valley, bringing the fruit into balance.  So, we have started picking.  To do this we look at the sugar contents of various bunches, as they can vary row by row depending on the sun exposure and water positioning.  When they reach the ideal level, we coordinate a hand-picking and sorting.

From here, the grapes go into a cold soak to stabilize them, and then into fermentation.

2013 Predictions

Wine grapes from harvest on the conveyor
We are very happy with the Cabernet Sauvignon fruit this year.  It is exhibiting many of the terroir characteristics we have come to look for in this area – a rich, round, creamy and silky mid-palate, overtones of tropical fruit with a base of dark chocolate.  2013 should be a lovely Cabernet vintage.

Up next…the Syrah.

If you’re traveling to Northern California this fall – let us know – we’d love to give you a glimpse of this year’s fruit and taste some wine.