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

MENDOCINO COUNTY

“Winegrowers are reporting very good quality for the 2018 vintage, with larger than normal yields. Bud break and flowering happened late this year, and conditions in May were windy and cool. There was a little frost in Potter Valley and Redwood Valley, but most regions were not impacted. Summer temperatures climbed to more than 100 degrees, but then cooled down in time for the harvest. The weather during harvest was ideal with warm moderate days and cool nights. Overall, the region’s major varieties fared well with good sugar maturity. Acidity levels were up from
last year and pH levels were down. The fruit is showing ripe flavors and vintners are expecting a nice vintage that will showcase Mendocino’s potential for high quality wine.”

NAPA VALLEY

“Growers reported “beautiful, steady conditions” for the 2018 growing season and harvest. Rain was abundant in February, and endless days of sunshine followed with the buds emerging from the dormant vines. Vines flowered uniformly, paving the way for even cluster development. The first picks of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier began in mid-August. Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay were harvested without exposure to heat spikes or rain. Vintners experienced increased activity in October, as red varieties came in. Cabernet Sauvignon benefitted from
warm days and cool nights, resulting in extended hang time. Growers are reporting strong yields compared to last year, along with complex flavors and excellent quality.”

MONTEREY COUNTY

“For the first time since 2012, growers experienced a return to California’s normally cool, coastal climate and a long, drawn-out harvest season. Mild, cool temperatures in winter
and spring extended the period for bloom and fruit set, leading to sleepless nights for growers ready to protect vines from any frost. Despite this worry, there were no issues with fruit set. Because of the coolness, many predicted a light crop in early summer, but as the hang time extended, they changed their assessments to an average-sized crop. Quality for both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is exceptional, with solid acid levels and great phenolic development. Vintners are expecting a high-quality year. USDA estimated the winegrape crop in August at 4.1 million tons, slightly higher than the five-year historical average.”

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