California’s 2018 harvest ‘played out like a dream’

LIVERMORE VALLEY

“The 2018 year is shaping up to be great for the Livermore Valley. Bud break occurred later than normal and flowering was prolonged due to a wet, cold spring. Temperatures hovered in the 90s for most of the summer, followed by refreshing, cool temperatures in August and September that allowed for slower maturation, flavor development and longer hang time. Chardonnay has excellent quality with great acidity and flavors. Syrah ripened at a lower Brix than usual and is showing complex flavors. Vintners were picking Cabernet Sauvignon into late October. Most vineyards reported yields about 10% higher than in 2017, with fruit showing great flavors and acidity levels.”

LODI

“The season got off to a slow start in Lodi, with later than normal timing for bud break, flowering and veraison. A moderate spring, very warm July temperatures, followed by a cool August allowed for gradual sugar accumulation. Moderate September conditions, allowed the grapes to ripen slowly. Yields appear to be average with younger vineyards having larger crops and older vineyards having lighter ones. All the region’s major varieties fared well, despite the ongoing challenges of hand-picking the old vines. Quality across the board looks good, and vintners are expecting fresh wines with nice acidity and good balance for 2018.”

MADERA COUNTY

“Triple-digit temperatures and the slow development of physiological maturity challenged Madera winegrowers this year. The season began with a mild winter and spring with little rainfall and a late bud break. This was followed by a high number of consecutive days over 100 degrees. Yields were average, due to growers’ pruning practices, such as shoot and bunch thinning to help
grapes reach maturity. Mediterranean varieties fared well in the warm growing conditions. Overall, the grapes showed light color and good flavors.”

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