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


“Paso Robles vintners have high hopes for an excellent vintage after a challenging growing season. Lower than normal rainfall over the winter resulted in a slightly later bud break, and cool weather during flowering extended the bloom period and caused some shatter in certain areas. An extended heat wave followed with 40 consecutive days of temperatures exceeding 90 degrees and 20 of those days reaching into triple digits. Once the heat wave subsided, the weather pattern returned to normal leading up to harvest, which began anywhere from one to three weeks later than usual. Most varieties had more clusters per vine than a normal year, but smaller cluster sizes and berries should lead to some excellent quality wines. For most varieties, yield appeared to be about average and wine quality for the major varieties looks promising.”


“Quality for 2018 will exceed that of 2017, and vintners are reporting good color, acidity and Brix levels in spite of a significant summer heat spike. A long, cool spring led to later bud break than usual, and a heat event in early July damaged several vineyards in the area and presented challenges for growers in certain locations. The harvest began about three weeks later than in the last few years, and yields were lower than normal due to the heat spike.”


“May and June were particularly cool months in the SLO Coast winegrowing region, but hot spells in July and early August kicked the growing season into high gear. Despite the warm temperatures, the harvest began about 10 days later than in recent years. Rain in early October had no negative impact on the grapes. Yields for Chardonnay and other varieties were larger than average and quality looks great across the board. Fermentations have proceeded nicely and the wines are delicious.”

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