CB: How would you characterize the 2007 harvest thus far? We’re not looking for predictions on how things might turn out, but rather what you’re truly seeing at this point in time.
Monticelli: The 2007 Napa Valley growing season began with an early budbreak and lack of winter rainfall. This predicated an overall small berry size and average-light yields. The temperate mild summer kept the grapes on course for an early vintage. The harvest season began with very warm temperatures and a lack of fog that sent sugar levels skyrocketing. Most white varietals and early red varietals were picked during this time period. Some early maturing Cabernet vineyards were brought in at this time also. Then a cooling trend combined with late morning fog greatly slowed sugar accumulation. Acid levels continued to decrease and grapes continued to slowly ripen. We are currently at the end of the cooling trend and are experiencing some light showers. The weather is expected to warm up and there will be more sun to finish ripening the grapes. This warmer weather is necessary, particularly for later ripening hillside Cabernet vineyards.
CB: Where are you in terms of your ’07 crop at this point in time?
Monticelli: At Pina Napa Valley, we have harvested one of our Cabernet vineyards. After a 2 week interlude, we will resume harvesting our other Cabernet vineyards later this week. We will probably finish mid-October with our latest vineyard on Howell Mountain.
CB: What has been the biggest surprise to you regarding the ’07 crop and why?
Monticelli: The biggest surprise to me regarding the 2007 crop is the wide range of picking dates in the Napa Valley. It seems as though there will be more markedly different winemaking styles in this vintage. There are winemakers that decided to pick very early and others that have decided to wait. Overall it seems like it will be a very solid vintage.
CB: Cheers Anna, best of luck with the remainder of the harvest!