2012 Sonoma County Harvest Update – 10/22/12

Sonoma County Harvest 80% In as Vintners Race to Completion

Sonoma County, CA, October 22, 2012 – With harvest nearing completion throughout Sonoma County following a growing season that was textbook perfect, Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma County Winegrowers will be issuing a series of harvest updates from the perspective of vintners and growers based in the region’s largest appellations, accompanied by comments from Nick Frey, President, Sonoma County Winegrowers.

A vineyard worker races to harvest grapes in Knights Valley Sonoma County in the early morning light. Photo: George Rose

Alexander Valley

“The weather has cooperated beautifully so far this harvest. The ideal ripening weather has allowed us to all but finish up the white grapes this week. The yield has continued to beat our expectations in most varieties. For reds we have picked all of the Malbec and are just starting with some of the Merlot blocks. We are watching the weather forecast closely and expect to really get going later this week harvesting Merlot and some Cabernet Sauvignon.” — Jim Young, President/CEO, Robert Young Vineyards

Sonoma Valley

“Our white varietal harvest is now complete here at Kunde Family Estate, and we are knee deep in picking our red varietals. Our projected last pick looks to be around Halloween. This has been an exceptional year for not only quality, but quantity, with grapes seeing a wonderful long hang time and few spikes in temperature.  We are experiencing great color extraction in the reds and beautiful varietal expression coming through in all of the wines. Our tanks are pretty full, and we are feeling like squirrels stashing their acorns for the winter.” — Zach Long, Winemaker, Kunde Family Estate

Russian River Valley

“We wrapped up the 2012 J Vineyards & Winery harvest Thursday, October 18, with 15 tons of Russian River Valley chardonnay.  Interestingly enough, we brought in 369 tons of extra grapes that were not counted in our early crop projections. This works out to 17% above initial projections.  Overall, I’d have to say that 2012 may have surpassed 2007 as the ‘perfect vintage.’ I think I speak for the entire winemaking team at J in saying, ‘I’m going to bed now!’”-—Melissa Stackhouse, Vice President of Winemaking, J Vineyards & Winery

“Quality is excellent, and we should be 95 percent done after Monday. The harvest will break many records — the crop kept getting bigger at the usual time when it shrinks. You have got to love harvest time to be in this business, which is why I can’t get enough!” – John Balletto, Balletto Winery and Vineyards

Dry Creek Valley

“At this point, we are nearly 80% done with harvest.  The quality of the Zinfandel and Bordeaux red varieties has been beautiful; I’m seeing particularly deep color and concentration in Cabernet, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. With the chance of some significant rain next week, everyone in Dry Creek Valley is scrambling to harvest as much as possible now. We are in a cycle of pressing off red tanks and refilling them as soon as we can. It’s just a matter of opening up tanks to receive the abundant harvest.”  —Tim Bell, Winemaker, Dry Creek Vineyard

“This has been one of the best harvests in years.  The growing season has been ideal up to this point. In all varietals, the fruit quality is exceptional and production levels very good for growers. In spite of a labor shortage all year, we have managed to stay on target with our work in the vineyards. We are now engaged in the last push to finish.  It’s as though someone has yelled “fire” and everyone has rushed for the exit.” – Duff Bevill, Bevill Vineyard Management

Sonoma County Overview

“We will surpass 80% completion of harvest by Monday when rain chances increase,” said Nick Frey, President, Sonoma County Winegrowers. “Rain should not have much impact since the bulk of varieties left to harvest will be Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties that have thicker skins and can handle rains pretty well. Overall, the vintage has been near perfect for growers and winemakers alike.”

About Sonoma County Vintners

Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) is the leading voice of Sonoma County wine, dedicated to raising awareness of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier wine regions, noted for its heritage of artisan winemaking, distinct growing regions, and extraordinary quality. Founded in 1944, SCV represents more than 175 wineries of all sizes throughout the county. Learn more about SCV at www.SonomaWine.com.

About Sonoma County Winegrowers

The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, dba Sonoma County Winegrowers, was established in 2006 as a non-profit marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. SCW’s goal is to increase awareness and recognition of the quality and diversity of Sonoma County’s grapes and wines through dynamic marketing and educational programs targeted to wine consumers around the world. For more information about SCW and its programs, visit www.sonomawinegrape.org.

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