2009 Napa Valley harvest: the coolest Spring and Summer anyone can remember on Spring Mountain

by TrevR on August 28, 2009

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In checking in with our three local vintners to see how harvest was going we learned that in most cases, it isn’t.

Aside from the crew at Swanson Vineyards in Oakville, our other vintners continue to play the waiting game–as most of their fruit has yet to reach optimal levels.

Read on for this week’s report.

Swanson Vineyards
Our first update this week comes from Oakville, where vineyard manager Ross Hall shares details on the winery’s official kick-off to the 2009 harvest, which started with Pinot Grigio.

It’s started! The 2009 harvest has begun. On Monday, 17 August, we picked our first grapes of this year’s crop. We brought in a little more than 6 tons of Pinot Grigio. Not a lot, to be sure, but just enough to get our field workers tuned up for the harvest ahead and to get a good look at our equipment in operation and make sure we have no problems there.

The yield, at about 4 tons per acre, was healthy and the crop was picture perfect in appearance. After pressing, the “in the tank” sugar was 22.4 degrees Brix. This clean, mature Pinot Grigio grape will provide us with the floral aromas and citrus flavors we like in our favorite white variety. Light, airy, refreshing and a delightful complement to most light and oriental fare, the relatively low sugar content will give us the lower alcohol percentages we seek in our style of Pinot Grigio.

We’re very pleased with our first grapes this year, and are eagerly looking forward to a wonderfully healthy, flavorful crop of moderate to average yield with all the potential to allow us to, once again, craft truly great vintage wines. Salude!

Piña Napa Valley
Meanwhile, all is still relatively quite over in Rutherford. Assistant Winemaker Macario Montoya provided an update on what’s happening in and around the winery given the action in the vineyards is still a few weeks off.

With our first Cabernet grapes still a few weeks away from being picked, there is still plenty of work to be done by our wine making staff. Richard, our intern from New Zealand, will be walking our vineyards weekly and taking samples to see how the grapes are maturing and progressing. With new barrels arriving daily, our cellar crew has taken to the task of unwrapping them, branding the heads with our logo and then applying the appropriate label for each of vineyard designate Cabernets. Not only are the barrels being prepped, but our harvest equipment is being pulled out after being in hibernation for the past year and being sanitized and serviced so that when the decision is made to pick we can hit the ground running.

Finally this week, managing general partner Stu Smith noted things haven’t changed too much up on Spring Mountain

Harvest is still behind; the whites seem to be moving forward faster than the reds. There’s not a lot to report because there’s no harvesting going on. We are a week to ten days off before much gets going. The reds have only just finished veraison and things are moving slowly. It’s the coolest spring and summer that anyone can remember on Spring Mountain. Clearly global warming has passed us by.

As always, check out the Harvest 2009 category for full coverage.

[techtags: Napa, Napa Valley, wine, winery, harvest, harvest 2009, napa grape harvest, Smith-Madrone, Swanson Vineyards, Piña Napa Valley, Rutherford, Oakville]

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About the Author

has written 725 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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