2013 winegrape harvest could start soon

Several days of temperatures around the century mark in late June and early July could bring the start of the 2013 North Coast winegrape harvest later this month.

Sparkling wine producer Mumm Napa, often the first to pick for a season, is looking at July 22 as the target date, among the earliest start dates for the winery, according to a spokeswoman.

Grapes for sparkling wine come off the vine a month or more before those for still wine because they are picked at lower sugar levels.***

[caption id="attachment_76318" align="alignright" width="280"] Keefer Ranch[/caption]

Originally a high-end virtual brand, pinot noir specialist Kosta Browne now owns a vineyard as well as having its own new Sebastopol production facility. KB Wines, LLC, purchased the 20-acre K2 block from Keefer Ranch in Green Valley, a subappellation in the southwestern corner of Russian River Valley.

Marcy Keefer, which has been selling pinot noir grapes to Kosta Browne since 2005 for a vineyard-designate wine, will continue to farm the remaining 30 acres of vines for existing clients.

The purchase is part of Kosta Browne's new estate-wine program. The company recently secured a long-term lease for 37 acres of the Gap's Crown Vineyard.***

While beer dominated the buzz from first-quarter financial results reported by New York-based Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) last week, the giant global wine company noted a sales boost from the Mark West pinot noir brand purchased from Graton-based Purple Wine Co. a year ago.

"Wine and spirits net sales on an organic constant currency basis increased 4 percent, primarily due to an increase in volume," the company announced. "The acquisition of Mark West complemented the organic growth as total net sales increased 6 percent," the company reported."

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