Napa Vintners Announce Harvest Live September 24 through 28
Social Media Brings Crush to Viewers in Real Time
9/13/2012 - St Helena, CA—The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) non-profit trade association announces the return of the popular UStream program known as Harvest Live to be broadcast beginning Monday, September 24 and throughout the week. Presented by Titus Vineyards' Christophe Smith, Dirt on the Vine, David Gowdy and the NVV, the busiest time of year in Napa Valley will once again be presented live and interactive through Harvest Live.
Smith said, "Harvest time is the busiest for vintners. Farmers, winemakers, cellar hands, and interns are working tirelessly in the field, the crush pad, and the winery. Tours and harvest parties abound this time of year with curious oenophiles pouring into Napa Valley to get a chance to catch the magic. Few industries have this sort of onlooker interaction while producing a consumable product. Alas, the visitor only gets to see a shell of the harvest machine. The happenings behind the scene remain a mystery."
Broadcasts will be based at five iconic Napa Valley vineyards; Trinchero Napa Valley, St. Supery Estate Vineyard and Winery, Newton Vineyard, Cuvaison Estate Wines, and Palmaz Vineyards. Viewers can go to www.HarvestNapaValley.com to see the current episode in real-time at 9am and 2pm PDT. Smith leverages new media and technology to create an untethered live look at harvest with winery principals on-hand to answer any and all questions submitted over the Ustream chat room or via Twitter #HL12.
Follow along all season, until the end of October with the NVV's Harvest website where viewers will find real-time videos and harvest updates chronicling 2012. This growing season, by all accounts, has been picture-perfect to date with no spring frost damage, well set fruit on the vine and an even crop load across all varieties. The weather has been exactly what growers and winemakers hope for each year—very consistent warm days and cool nights with few heat spikes.
Following the August video series launch with the first picking of wine grapes for sparkling wines, the second video installment follows the first of the season's Sauvignon Blanc. Chardonnay is queued to begin in the days ahead. What had appeared could be an earlier than normal harvest is turning out to be a textbook, on-time vintage across all varieties appellation-wide.
Taste and Tweet
Harvest events are taking place valley-wide and the site's calendar is a terrific resource for planning a visit to experience the season first-hand. On Monday, September 24, vintners—including chef-turned-vintner Tyler Florence—will head to San Francisco's Waterbar for a Taste and Tweet wine tasting and Twitter event.
Updates from the Field
Keith Hock, winemaker at Schramsberg Vineyards provided this update to the sparkling harvest's progress, "We have had a slow start to harvest 2012, sugars have risen slowly. The quality of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is among the best I've ever seen. Flavors are delicious, with ideal sugar to acid ratios. The fruit is dense with yields up slightly. The grapes are now at their peak of ripeness for sparkling base wines. Enthusiastic picking crews are harvesting and we are pumped-up to chug our way through the mountain of grapes looming in front of us. Starting this week the winery is running around the clock. We are currently about a quarter of the way complete with another half of our expected tonnage coming in within the next 10 days. Its going to be a fast harvest, but this is the time when great things happen."
Winemaker Steven Rogstad of Cuvaison Estate Wines and Brandlin Vineyards said, "Down here in Carneros the sparkling wine houses are in full cry and we can enjoy the action from our terrace. The weather is being super cooperative so we are looking to relax through one more weekend before we kick into gear. The color looks phenomenal on the Pinot Noir and we are anxious to get into it. Up on Mount Veeder, our Bordeaux red varieties are still several weeks out, except Malbec which ought to come in by the end of September."
At Groth Vineyards and Winery in Oakville, Winemaker Michael Weis said, "A storybook harvest thus far—progressing exactly as we had expected and had hoped for. Harvest 2012 is looking like a mirror image of the fabulous 2005 vintage—Great fruit, great sugars, great acidity, perfect conditions—knock on wood!"
Janet Myers, winemaker at Franciscan Estate in Oakville said, "Harvest is going great so far. Sauvignon Blanc picking finished on September 3 and Chardonnay begins soon. The first Bordeaux varietal is about 10 days out. There is a good crop hanging, with even berry size, and flavor development is progressing quickly. We are two weeks ahead of 2011, and the signs are pointing to an excellent vintage."
From the western hills, Vineyard Manager Ron Rosenbrand of Spring Mountain Vineyard said, "Compared to 2010 and 2011, which were unusually cool and late, 2012 looks blessedly normal. Consistent heat throughout summer created optimal conditions through veraison toward physiological grape maturity. Crop size is also normal and the fruit is of superior quality. We brought in our first fruit on September 1—Sauvignon Blanc. On September 4 we harvested a little Pinot Noir. Our guys are making one last pass through the vineyard blocks to remove any errant green clusters and second crop fruit. Only perfect clusters will make their way to the winery."
In Calistoga from the Diamond Mountain District, Checkerboard Vineyards' owner Dennis O'Neil said, "We picked our Sauvignon Blanc on September 5, 2 days ahead of 2011. The fruit is really beautiful and we have a much larger crop than last year. It is looking like our lower elevation Merlot will be next, coming in about 10-14 days. We are seeing remarkable consistency in all of our vineyards this season. From the farming side this is a great year."
Up on Howell Mountain on the eastern hillside, Pat Stotesbery owner of Ladera Vineyards said, "We are finished picking Sauvignon Blanc. We are weeks away from anything red. Fruit quality looks great as the vines are very healthy and cluster size and count are wonderful."
Look for the next video installment and harvest update on September 26.
The Napa Valley Vintners is the non-profit trade association responsible for promoting and protecting the Napa Valley appellation as the premier winegrowing region. From seven founding members in 1944, today the association represents more than 430 Napa Valley wineries and collectively is a leader in the world-wide wine industry. To learn more about our region and its legendary American wines, visit www.napavintners.com.