Harvest Napa Valley 2014: Coming Soon
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Veraison was detected at Backus Vineyard in Oakville by viticulturalist Sarah Black
Photo by Joseph Phelps
Although there is a specific moment in time when the first grapes of each Napa Valley vintage are picked, every harvest represents the culmination of 12 months of rigorous work and concentrated effort by our vintners and growers to produce the best possible wines.
Starting last winter, pruning decisions were made by Napa Valley’s vintners and growers to provide the basic structure for highly flavorful, yet lower yield, quality wine grapes. The 2013/14 winter season was very dry and relatively warm, making these decisions especially important in the careful management of the amount of water that each vine would need for shoot, leaf and fruit development.
Welcome rains came in the spring, concentrating water in the soil for bud break and creating early vigor in canopy growth. Since there were few overnights with freezing temperatures this spring, water that might have been essential for frost protection can instead be used for the minimal amount of irrigation that fine wine grapes require.
A long, moderately warm spring brought even flowering to our vineyards in late May and early June. Since then it’s been a pretty consistent growing season, with few heat spikes and good fruit set. Veraison, or the slight softening of fruit as it also develops pigment, has come a bit early, but this is, after all, farming, with each year having its own rhythm and pace.
Grapes for Napa Valley sparkling wines will be the first to be harvested, followed by aromatic white wines like Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay, lighter reds and then deeper red varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon will become ripe and be picked next. Unlike other agricultural harvests, ours typically lasts from early to mid-August until sometime in the latter part of October. But every year is different and we encourage you to follow along as the most exciting time of year in Napa Valley is about to begin!