Sonoma County Harvest 2012 Update 1: Initial Reports Indicate Great Conditions and Quality

Sonoma County, CA, September 28, 2012– With harvest well underway throughout Sonoma County following a growing season that was as textbook perfect as few vintners and growers can remember, Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma County Winegrowers will be issuing a series of harvest updates from the perspective of vintners based in the region’s largest appellations, accompanied by comments from Nick Frey, President, Sonoma County Winegrowers.

Alexander Valley

“Here at the Robert Young Estate, we are running two to three weeks late for a normal season, but seven to ten days ahead of last year’s very late harvest. First in as usual was Sauvignon Blanc, followed by Viognier, Melon, and now some Chardonnay. The ideal weather has allowed the crop to size up more than our original early season estimates and fruit quality has been excellent so far.” — Jim Young, President/CEO, Robert Young Vineyards

Sonoma Valley

“Harvest began for us at Kunde the second week of September and has brought us above-normal crop yields while producing high quality fruit. We have almost completed the harvesting of our white varietals and hope to complete the reds by the first of November. Mother Nature is helping to make this an exceptional harvest.  The cool nights and warm days with no rain are creating a vintage we are sure our consumers will enjoy!” —Jim Mickelson, President, Kunde Family Vineyards

Chardonnay grapes being harvested this week at Kunde Vineyards in Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County.

Russian River Valley

“We’re thrilled with this year’s Russian River Valley grape harvest.  The sparkling wine portion at J concluded on a high note in mid-September, smoothly transitioning into our Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris varietal grape harvest. The quality of the fruit is nothing short of exceptional and as long as the warm weather holds up, we expect to be finished picking grapes before the end of October.”—Melissa Stackhouse, Vice President of Winemaking, J Vineyards & Winery


J Vineyards Winemaker Melissa Stackhouse having a little crushpad fun during Pinot Noir harvest in Russian River Valley, Sonoma County. Photo: George Rose

Dry Creek Valley

“In July and early August, word on the street was, ‘Early and compressed harvest!’, but Nature had other plans.  The number of clusters per vine has been about average, but increasing bunch weights have slowed and drawn out the crush. Sauvignon Blanc is almost all in, and waiting on other varieties has given us time to really baby the white fermentations. As they start to wind down, here come the reds!  We’re closing in on completing 60% of our harvest.” —Tim Bell, Winemaker, Dry Creek Vineyard

Dry Creek Vineyard Winemaker Tim Bell takes a break from Harvest to talk about the 2012 vintage in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County. Photo: Dry Creek Vineyard

Sonoma County Overview

“We will be about 25% harvested by the end of this week, with a good portion of white varieties in, and Pinot Noir coming in at full speed. Quality has been outstanding across the varieties, and the fruit is in excellent condition reflecting the perfect growing conditions we experienced this year.” —Nick Frey, President, Sonoma County Winegrowers.

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

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

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