When is Harvest?

Grapes

Question from Jim: When  is harvest? 

Reply: What a perfectly timed question – for the northern hemisphere, harvest is now! For us, harvest starts in late summer or early fall depending upon the weather, the variety and the style.

Of course the southern hemisphere already has a 2011 vintage because they harvested late winter/early spring this year.

Since we produce so many different wines here in the Napa Valley, we’re a good reference for a wide number of varieties and styles.

If we have a normal year, whatever that means, we start with sparkling wine, usually in mid August, and they usually finished by early September.

For table wine, early ripening varieties like Sauvignon Blanc start coming in around Labor Day. Then we move into Pinot Noir, one of the very few early ripening reds. Chardonnay may start coming in around mid September with Merlot and Cabernet Franc on its heels.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot are usually October varieties.

We’ve had such a cool summer here, while the rest of the country sweltered, that we’re about two weeks behind. A good blast of heat would be very welcome right now. Otherwise, we may find ourselves harvesting into November, which puts us at risk for rain damage. Let’s hope not.

Napa Valley is generally categorized as a warm climate, so if you consider cool climate situations like Oregon, New York and most of France and Germany, you just shift the start and end dates back a few weeks. Of course, it all depends upon the weather.

So, harvest is in full swing! Jim, you should make plans to visit if you can – it’s a very exciting time of year for us. Cheers!

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