Sonoma County’s 2013 winegrape harvest season has turned the corner and headed down the home stretch.2013 harvest report
Check out the North Coast harvest report in the Oct. 14 issue of Wine Industry Business Journal.
Sonoma County Winegrowers and Sonoma County Vintners are publishing 2013 harvest updates from their members at WeAreSonomaCounty.com/tag/2013-harvest and #sonomaharvest2013 on Twitter.
Current reports are showing that the region is approximately 85 percent to 90 percent complete, with mostly zinfandel and some cabernet sauvignon, grenache, pinot noir, and syrah still on the vines. Winegrowers anticipate harvest finishing up within the next week or two, which would put this year’s harvest about three weeks ahead of schedule compared to previous vintages.
Reports from winemakers and winegrowers about fruit quality continue to be positive, despite the recent rainstorm that had minimal influence on picking schedules and was characterized by one winegrower as "washing off the dust on the leaves."
In fact, several regions around Sonoma County reported that the rain storm was accompanied by some high winds that helped dry out moisture. This year’s grape crop continues to come in at average to above-average size with excellent flavor profiles that are lush, balanced and consistent. Overall, winegrowers and winemakers are thrilled about this year’s harvest and the potential of these 2013 wines.
"If you’ve driven through Sonoma County these past few weeks, it’s obvious that winegrowers and winemakers are working at lightning speed to bring in the last remaining fruit off the vines. In most of our regions throughout the county, we’re picking a lot of different red varieties at the same time, creating some challenges for tank space. We’ve heard some growers comment about the unique timing of this vintage where a lot of cabernet sauvignon was picked before zinfandel. Everyone is still very pleased with fruit quality and excitement is building for the end of harvest when everyone can sleep again. When all is said and done, this year’s harvest is shaping up to be another great vintage for Sonoma County and its possible tonnage could come close to last year’s totals." ---Karissa Kruse, president, Sonoma County Winegrowers
The following comments from experts on the "front vines" of several American Viticultural Areas in the county:
"Great year for the grower and winemaker. Nice sized crop. Whites and reds are all wonderful quality -- winemakers are talking about it already." ---Duff Bevill, founder and partner, Bevill Vineyard ManagementAlexander Valley
"We finished harvesting cabernet sauvignon on Monday with some zinfandel left that we’re aiming to pick next week. It's been a condensed harvest season with so many varietals, whites and reds, all coming in at the same time. Fruit quality and flavors are excellent. The recent rainstorm had little to no impact on our vines, and it actually helped bolster our cover crop that we seeded several weeks ago." ---Brad Petersen, vineyard manager at Silver Oak Cellars and Twomey Cellars and new chairman of Sonoma County Winegrowers
"Wow, we are really in the thick of it. Our tank space is tight, our white barrels are almost filled. We are about 75 percent in and wishing we were further. This is when the carb loading pays off. We’re heading towards the finish line and hoping our experience and planning are paying off. We have all of our whites and pinot noir in and they are showing so well, it makes you proud to taste the delicacy and vibrancy they are showing so early. The sauvignon blancs are finishing and showing great concentration and edginess of young wines. Bordeaux varietals are still hanging out there becoming perfectly ripened in this glorious fall weather, promising great flavors in the field." ---Susan Lueker, director of winemaking, Simi WineryDry Creek Valley