Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
09.16.2013  
 

Wine Grape Harvest Picks Up in Sonoma County

Alexander Valley still ahead of normal, grape quality reported as excellent

 
by Andrew Adams
 
 
munselle vineyard merlot
 
Bins of Merlot from Munselle vineyard (above) marked the start of harvest at Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Sonoma County, Calif., on Sept. 12.
Sonoma, Calif.—Growers and winemakers throughout Sonoma County report that the phenomenal vintage of 2012 could well be matched by 2013.

Grapes appear to be enjoying uniform ripening, and the quality of the fruit arriving at wineries has been excellent. “Everything is amazing,” said Greg Miller, director of wine at Jordan Vineyard & Winery in Healdsburg, Calif. “It’s tough to think that anything could come close to last year.”

He said the winery received its first bins of Merlot on Sept. 12. The fruit was so good, he said, that when it hit conveyors on the crush pad, the sorting crew could have taken a coffee break. “Quality-wise it’s excellent, so we’re pretty excited,” he said.

Miller said that last week he expected the winery, which owns more than 100 acres of estate vineyards and sources grapes from other locations in Alexander Valley, to have completed its Chardonnay harvest by the weekend and then proceed through other red varieties before harvest wraps up with Petit Verdot in two to three weeks.

The first Chardonnay grapes arrived Sept. 6, which is about 10 days earlier than normal because of the warm winter and spring. Miller said the initial expectation was that harvest would be early and big. Rain and the resulting humidity in June, however, required extensive vineyard thinning that brought yields closer to normal.

Sonoma County’s record 2012 crop of more than 267,000 tons was a 68% increase over the cool and rainy vintage of 2011, according to the county crop report. Grapes harvested in Sonoma in 2012 were valued at nearly $600 million.

Miller said this vintage has been interesting because when grapes hit certain Brix levels, which have typically indicated that lot is ready for picking, the flavors haven’t necessarily been there. That means some lots have had to stay on the vine a bit longer than normal. “The trick now is to not lose acidity,” he said.

Varying AVAs
Steve Sangiacomo, owner and president of Sangiacomo Family Vineyards, which owns 1,600 acres in the Carneros, Sonoma Coast and Sonoma Valley AVAs, said he has started picking Pinot Noir for still wine. “Everything looks great so far; it’s been ideal conditions,” he said. Yields have been about 10%-15% above average.

Slightly cooler temperatures after the short heat wave earlier this month helped ensure balanced ripening and allow phenolic maturity to catch up with Brix levels.

Sangiacomo said finding enough workers to pick grapes has not been an issue. Several growers in the county went with machine harvesting in 2012, and they appear to be doing the same this harvest, lessening the demand on the available worker pool. “We’re seeing it’s not as big of an issue,” he said.

He said he contracts with a separate company for mechanized harvesting on a portion of his vineyards.

Association input
Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers, said Alexander Valley was a couple weeks ahead of normal, but grapes in the county’s other AVAs are maturing at a more typical pace. She said overall about 10%-20% of the county’s vineyards had been harvested. “Quality seems excellent so far: no sunburn or botrytis,” she said.

Kruse said the only issue she has heard of is that some wineries can’t free up fermentation tanks.  “We are dealing with a few wineries starting to push back waiting to turn their tanks,” she said.

Out on the Sonoma Coast in the Fort Ross Seaview AVA, Daniel Schoenfeld, winemaker and co-owner of Wild Hog Vineyard, said he wrapped his Pinot Noir harvest last week and expects to bring in his Zinfandel and Syrah grapes soon. He said his 3.5 acres of Pinot vines yielded 12 tons, which is “remarkable” for his vineyard. “The other remarkable part is it was gorgeous fruit.”

He said 2012 provided a record haul of 11 tons, so he was surprised to see the vines produce another bumper load this year. While the clusters are large, he said the grapes didn’t appear to be excessively juicy when he processed them at the winery.

Schoenfeld, who opened his winery in 1990, said he’s never seen two large harvests back to back. He thought a dry January may have had some effect but admitted he just doesn’t know. “This was two big years in a row. What’s going on?”

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
August 2014 $558 million
5%
$7,613 million
6%
August 2013 $531 million $7,167 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
August 2014 $78 million
17%
$1,686 million
10%
August 2013 $67 million $1,530 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
August 2014 218
12%
224
19%
August 2013 194 189
     
 
MORE » Released on 09.15.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • September 18-21
     
    Euphoria
     
  • September 22-23
     
    Wine Industry Financial Symposium
     
  • September 23-24
     
    Experimental Design and Chemometrics for Chemists
     
  • September 27
     
    Red Mountain AVA Block Party
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Financial Impact of Napa Quake Rising »
 
I still think the numbers are low and don't include legal fees. Section 165 was...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting the Effects of Wine Closures »
 
In addition to oxidation of somee of the SO2, post-bottling chemical changes are a continuation...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting the Effects of Wine Closures »
 
I agree with the 14:46 post. I have switched to screwcap on most of my...
Reader: Chris Baker
 
Article: Tasting the Effects of Wine Closures »
 
What I have found in the past between the type of closures is this. A)...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Tasting the Effects of Wine Closures »
 
What about glass closures (vinolok)? I always see this debate going on and glass is...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2014 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Field Sales Manager
 Maryland/Dc, MD
Sales and Marketing
 Human Resources Coordi...
 Paso Robles, CA
General Administration and
 Wine Club Manager/Coor...
 Agoura Hills, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Bottling Line Operator
 Hopland, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Liquor Manager / Wine ...
 Northbrook, IL
Sales and Marketing
 Host / Hostess
 Livermore, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Payroll / Accounts Pay...
 Rutherford, CA
General Administration and
 Retail Sales
 Island Park, NY
Sales and Marketing
 Sales And Marketing As...
 Napa, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Sales Rep - San Franci...
 San Francisco, CA
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.