As you know, we’ve been getting regular updates from the folks at Spring Mountain Vineyard as they’ve gone through the 2008 harvest season. From our first report way back in mid-to-late August all the way through the month of October we’ve hopefully provided you with a glimpse into the process of making wine from the perspective of a premiere Napa Valley winery.
Today we share our final update of the season from Spring Mountain’s vineyard manager, Ron Rosenbrand:
It’s a great feeling to have harvest behind us and all the fruit safely in the winery and going through the fermentation process. The 2008 harvest ended for Spring Mountain Vineyard on October 30. The day before 3.60 inches of rain began to fall. Rain is always a threat to the quality of the fruit so it was nice to have that completed before that huge rain event hit us.
As Jac explained in the last segment that he wrote, crop quantity was down fairly significantly from 2007. We had an overall reduction of crop of 35%. There were many factors that contributed to this decrease. It was our 2nd consecutive year of below average winter rainfall. We had a devastating spring freeze in April, unusually hot temperatures during bloom in May and extreme heat in early September. That September heat wave probably had the largest impact on our crop. Temperatures climbed to 100+ degrees for 4 consecutive days. It came just after verasion. The vines went into self defense mode and pulled water from the clusters causing an increased amount of raisining due to dehydration. I didn’t have enough water to properly hydrate the plants. In light of all these negatives, the quality of the juice in the fermenting tanks looks really good. The fruit, as it was being processed went through our new Mistral sorting system and looked beautiful.
As we look back on the 2008 harvest, we’ll remember it for many difficulties and hardships thanks to Mother Nature. Even though quantity is down, the quality of this vintage will be tremendous!
So there you have it. Now comes the waiting game for us consumers as it will be at least 18-24 months before we get to decide for ourselves if the 2008 vintage is indeed “tremendous”.
If you find yourself planning a trip to the Napa Valley we do highly recommend getting in touch with Ron, Jac and the crew at Spring Mountain Vineyard beforehand to schedule a visit.
Don’t forget to check out our Harvest 2008 category for all the previous posts.