2009 Napa Valley harvest: it’s a wrap

by TrevR on October 28, 2009

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Our mid-week harvest update is here.

Things have calmed down dramatically in most of the vineyards, with the majority of fruit already picked (or being picked as we write) and in the winery.

Here’s the latest (and likely the last) formal update of the season from Smith-Madrone, Piña Napa Valley and Swanson Vineyards

Smith-Madrone
Managing partner Stuart Smith provided a quick update from Spring Mountain, where activity is slowly winding down…

Most of the wineries are taking advantage of the beautiful warm fall weather to finish harvesting this week, leaving only a very few wineries with grapes hanging as we go into November. Those grapes being harvested are clean and flavorful, with only one report of a tiny amount of mold being detected.

Piña Napa Valley
Meanwhile, winemaker Anna Monticelli shared details on how the weather impacted the harvest and noted the winery’s final grapes should be coming in today…

The weather has been very temperate and mild in the past week and the humidity also went down. There was a storm coming from Hawaii that was supposed to hit the Napa Valley bringing more significant rainfall starting on Thursday. It looks like the storm is going to bypass us leaving us with beautiful temperate weather. Unfortunately due to the effects of the previous rainfall and high humidity following the big storm 2 weeks ago, we will be unable to keep the fruit on the vine any longer without risk of the grapes getting moldy or falling off the stem.

Our last grapes to be harvested are on Howell Mountain, the coolest of our AVAs. We brought in four of the Howell Mountain Buckeye Vineyard blocks today. The rest of the vineyard will be harvested on Wednesday and then we will put our crushing equipment away. The quality of the 2009 wines looks very promising. The wines have beautiful aromatics and they taste very balanced. It is still early but we think it will be a great vintage. It’s a wrap!

Swanson Vineyards
Finally, winemaker Chris Phelps reflected on the 2009 growing season and provided some early thoughts on the vintage…

The weather is shifting in Napa, as the mercury drops, the North wind blows, and the grapes still hanging out are not going to improve.

We wrapped up harvest at Swanson a week ago, so we now have a solid picture of what our Merlot and Cabernet harvests are translating into, in terms of wine quality. We guessed that the lower-than-average yields and cool growing season would mean great color and easily extractable, ripe tannins, and we have not been disappointed. We have been so impressed by the balance, and especially, the texture of our reds, that we ordered an additional load of new barrels – a first for my 6-year tenure at Swanson. Achieving full physiological ripeness means that reds develop delectable, velvety tannins. Look to many 2009 Napa Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines for these characteristics. Visit your favorite producers in April, taste the 2009 reds in barrel, if you can, and tell me you don’t agree.

For full coverage, hit up the Harvest 2009 category.

[techtags: Napa, Napa Valley, wine, winery, harvest 2009, napa harvest 2009, Smith-Madrone, Pina Napa Valley, Swanson Vineyards]

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has written 722 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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