Napa harvest: Coombsville fruit showing unique characteristics

Earlier this summer we told you about St. Helena’s Cairdean Estate from proprietors Edwin and Stacia Williams. We recently caught up with Edwin to get a general update on harvest and a few specific details on the Acquaintance Vineyard located in Coombsville.

It’s no secret the annual wine grape harvest in Napa Valley got off to an early start back on July 30th, here’s what Williams had to say about it:

The main story with the 2014 season is the lack of rain. The lack of rain this year isn’t affecting us the way one would normally think lack of rain would affect growing crops. The rains that we did get came at the right time and the right amount to have ground water available for this growing year. However, the lack of early rains and a cold winter in general made the grapevines “wake-up” from their dormancy early.

Meanwhile, south east Napa’s Coombsville area has seen some interesting changes in 2014. Here’s Williams:

From what we have observed in our Coombsville vineyard (Acquaintance Vineyard), the early season has had many effects, both obvious and subtle. The obvious early season means that we are bringing in fruit early; specifically we are harvesting our Acquaintance Merlot next week, which is about two and a half weeks earlier than normal. The more subtle is the dynamics of the vineyard are off. We have noticed less pests in the vineyard, but also the flavors aren’t like previous vintages. I personally suspect that the rain schedule we received changed the soil nutrient update by the vines to change the more typical flavors of the vineyard.

Keep in mind that by saying the flavors are different, it isn’t that the flavors aren’t good. Far from that, actually. The flavors just aren’t typical of what we have seen since we have been growing fruit in Coombsville. It will mean that wineries, like us, who stick with what the fruit provides in a season, will find that the 2014 harvest of Coombsville fruit will have unique characteristics not found in previous vintages. That should make us all very excited about this season.

Stay tuned for additional updates and follow along on our dedicated Napa harvest page.

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