2008 Napa Valley harvest report: week 2

by TrevR on September 11, 2008

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We’ve been remiss in posting this as we continue to work on our technical difficulties.

In the past week to 10 days we’ve seen some very hot temperatures here in the Napa Valley–days well over 100 and nights barely cooling down into the 70′s. Definitely not the type of weather the winemakers hope to see at this stage in the growing season.

This is the dominant theme for our second installment of Harvest 2008 updates from our friends at Spring Mountain Vineyard. Here’s what vineyard manager Ron Rosenbrand shared with us early last week:

Normally at Spring Mountain Vineyard in early September harvest begins with just a trickle of fruit. This is mostly due to the fact that about 85% of our varieties are Bordeaux reds. The Sauvignon Blanc is planted in 2 distinctly different locations with three different soil types. So it also comes in at different times over a 2 week period.

Extreme heat (above 100 degrees) in September is never our friend. With our shallow soils the vines dehydrate at a much quicker pace than Napa Valley floor vineyards. We are irrigating around the clock to try and keep up with the heat but forecasters are predicting above normal temperatures through Sunday. What starts to happen is the vine goes into survival mode as the available water supply to the roots diminish. It will pull moisture from any available source. The maturing clusters are where the plant pulls from causing the fruit to dehydrate, start to turn to raisins and spike sugars. None of which is good because there are times that you are forced to harvest fruit that isn’t quite physiologically mature or risk losing it all together to raisining. Fortunately our irrigation water supply is still holding up so things are looking pretty good.

So far, in comparison to the same blocks that were harvested already last year, The Sauvignon Blanc is picking out about 15% lighter than last year. Quality is looking fabulous however, so a lighter crop at times is a blessing.

We will be harvesting our Pinot Noir tomorrow and more Sauvignon Blanc on Monday.

Don’t forget to check out our Harvest 2008 category for all of this year’s harvest-related coverage.

[techtags: Napa, Napa Valley, wine, winery, 2008 napa valley harvest, 2008 napa grape harvest, harvest 2008]

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has written 726 posts on The Cork Board. He was born and aged in the Napa Valley and has a passion for wine, writing and social media, which led him to co-found this blog in early 2007. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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