2017 CROP REPORT
A general statement appraising the 2017 crop could be “we have a good crop on the red grapes, but no bumper crop, with the white grapes especially Chardonnay are showing a lighter crop”. There are a couple of varieties that are an exception. One of them is Montepulciano. Bunch count is there but the shatter is so great within bunches that it will make for an exceptionally light crop.
A couple of conditions that have to be assessed may affect production. One of them is powdery mildew. We have seen it in some local vineyards on certain varieties and there are some reports that downy mildew may have affected some Coastal Vineyards. The second issue is the effect of a substantial hail storm that came through Northern California on Sunday June 11. There are already some published reports of damage in Napa, some talk of damage in the Western District of Lodi and we know it hailed in the Sierra Foothills.
Winery activity is quiet. Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are in very strong demand. Even with the projected light crop on Chardonnay, wineries are still not willing to pay more for them. Regular Zinfandels, Merlot and Syrah appear to be weak and there are growers who are looking for homes. Last year there were some Zinfandels that were not harvested. Most of those were vineyards, whose grapes had previously been raised for White Zinfandel production, were not grown properly for red wine. Contracts for good Old Vine Zinfandels are being readily renewed.
With the wet winter and cool spring we are not anticipating an early harvest. The weather pattern for the summer is anything but predictable. As mentioned above, it was cold and wet the weekend of June 11th and this weekend we are experiencing a triple digit heat wave that will likely extend throughout the week. What will happen the next weekend is anybody’s guess. With a cool summer we will have a late harvest, with a warm summer our harvest will be “Normal”. There also appears to be an historical difference in maturity between Districts. This is good news in that it spreads out the harvest.
The labor situation in our area does not appear to be too disparate. The cherry harvest progressed with a sufficient labor supply. Prices for harvest did not go up per harvested unit but last year’s cherry crop was very light and this year’s crop was very good. The daily income for the pickers rose sharply and we anticipate that trend to continue for the grape harvest.
GOOD FRIENDS AND EXCELLENT WINE MAKERS
I have two good friends and excellent winemakers who are looking for employment. One is located in the mid-West and the other is located in California but he has worked on the East Coast. If you are looking for extremely competent winemakers, I would not hesitate to recommend these individuals. Contact me if you have some interest.
ROSÉ IS A HOT TICKET
With wine sales of rosé wine rising over 50% last year, there is a tremendous interest in rosé wines. We have tasted rosé that has been made out of almost every variety. Years ago there was a rosé that was made out of Pinot Noir—it was called Eye of the Swan. Until this year it was the finest I ever tasted. Last year a customer made a rosé from our grapes that topped anything. It was an equal blend of Merlot, Old Vine Zinfandel and Malbec. I personally love dry rosé wines, but for me in a lot of instances, especially imports, there is a little tartness at the end. This blend had nothing of that. It was fruity forward, clean, crisp wine. A great wine!!!!!!! We have access to some bulk rosé wine made from Syrah. Please contact us, if you have some interest.
LOCAL PINOT NOIR AVAILABLE
This year we will be able to offer locally grown Pinot Noir together with our great Coastal Pinot Noir. The local grapes are being raised with extremely limited production per acre to insure great flavors and color. They are considerably less expensive than the Coastal grapes. Please contact us, if you have some interest.
BULK WINES AVAILABLE
We have access to several bulk wines, including Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Malbec, Red Blends, Syrah rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and white blends. Bulk wines are available in shiners, tanks, and/or barrels. Please contact us, if you have some interest.