Exciting news! Wineries in certain parts of Sonoma and Napa began harvesting grapes this week for this year’s wine production. So far it has been an excellent growing season in California with no major problems like late frosts in spring or sudden intense heat spells in the summer, and many wineries are looking forward to a impressive crop.
Typically grapes destined for sparkling wine are harvested at about this time when acid levels are higher and sugars are lower. Pinot Noir grapes are also picked early, depending on their ripeness. The interesting thing about California’s wine country geography is that the hills and valleys allow for many microclimates, which results in the fruit going through veraison – the coloring-up of the fruit – at drastically different times. Most growers can expect the harvest to begin the first or second week of September through October.
This year’s long, cool, and steady growing season with no abnormal heat spikes is leading many winemakers to believe that the California Pinot Noir crop will be outstanding this year, with reports of the initial flavor and berry size being near perfect.
While the wines started this year won’t hit the market for a while, consumers can generally expect lower prices. The abundance of the fresh grapes expected from this year’s harvest and the following abundance of ready wine will keep prices steady or below average as wineries continue to deal with a depressed market. While this may not be the best news for wineries, the future looks bright for the personal consumer and those who send wine gifts.
Stay tuned for harvest news from Oregon and Washington…