Harvest 2019

Here’s this week’s Napa Valley harvest report, from the American Viticultural Area (AVA):


Calistoga — Matt Crafton, Chateau Montelena — “The temperate weather over the last week, with nighttime lows in the mid-40s, has kept ripening on a slow and steady pace. As the wind from the coast kicked up on Saturday with a deep, dense marine layer, it felt like an early taste of October in Calistoga. With the wipers shedding the mist, it’s the kind of morning you’re happy to have a long-sleeve shirt in the truck. Thankfully, we’ve been seeing blue skies by midday and the afternoons have warmed up, reminding me that we’re not quite ready to let go of summer. The grapevines are loving the conditions and it wouldn’t surprise me to see red grapes being harvested in the next 7-10 days.”


Howell Mountain — Laura Barrett, Clif Family Winery — “The grape harvest is creeping closer in the Howell Mountain AVA. Winemakers are walking vineyards, tasting the fruit, and testing grape chemistry. According to Jason Price of Robert Craig, ‘Recent vineyard walkthroughs have shown that the Candlestick Ridge Malbec and a portion of the Merlot are set to bring in next week.’ With the mild weather pattern in place, we are able to plan ahead and set our pick dates with precision. The little bit of heat forecasted for the end of this week will push these earlier blocks into picking mode. In the meantime, the Cabernet Sauvignon is steadily ripening in this ideal, late summer weather.”


Diamond Mountain District — Dawnine Dyer, Dyer Vineyards — “While we’ve had plenty of heat on Diamond Mountain, it’s been nice and steady since veraison with no extremes or heat spikes. The canopies are still green and photosynthesis is bringing sugars up at a nice pace. While we were a week or so behind recent vintages at bloom, all indications of ripeness seem to show that we are catching up some. Dirk Fulton (The Vineyardist) is reporting very uniform and healthy fruit, with growing conditions reminding him of 2016 or 2007. The whites in the district are coming in. Gruner Veltliner at von Strasser and Sauvignon Blanc at The Vineyardist will both be off the vine by the end of the week. Next up? Sean Thompson at J. Davies is watching their Malbec closely and thinks it may come in next week.”


Chiles Valley District — Alexander Eisele, Volker Eisele Family Estate — “Harvest of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon is almost complete and the first Zinfandel from the highest elevations will be harvested late this week. Cool overnight lows have been stretching into the morning allowing for great acid retention. Daytime highs have been nearly ideal for slow, steady ripening. The lack of extreme heat has kept the fruit plump and allowed for slower ripening than in years past without much irrigation being needed. Flavors are developing nicely. Vineyards are reporting to be between one and two weeks behind their average years.”