Harvest has begun in Napa, the culmination of a vintage year of unusual weather. Our drenching rains of winter refilled aquifers and then some. Flooding in Napa downtown has been a news staple for many generations. But the recently completed work on utilizing acres of lowlands at the south end of Napa to absorb the worst of flood conditions has paid off. That and a new barrier to reroute flood water did the trick. Over 50 inches of water and no flooding this year! But what about the grapes?
We rolled into spring with hopes that were chilled by low temperatures and high humidity. Flowering and fertilization proceeded in a stop and go fashion, following the intermittent rains, and that shows in the grapes. The ripening was correspondingly uneven, including within vineyards. We dropped plenty of green fruit to leave only ripe fruit on the vine, and wrestled with the effects of multiple heat waves, often in triple digits. Last week we again saw temperatures of 108 to 116 throughout the valley.
This all adds up to unusual. But the grapes are arriving on the crush pad, and our job is to do all we can to bring out the best features of this vintage in a glass several years from now.
In the meantime, we wait for the loaded trucks…