August 13, 2013, Santa Rosa, Calif. – The Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW) and Sonoma County Vintners (SCV) are excited to announce that the region’s 2013 harvest season started in the early morning hours on Friday, August 9 with 2.5 tons of pinot noir grapes picked from Robert Hunter Winery’s Hunter Farms Estate Vineyard located in the heart of Sonoma Valley. The pinot noir fruit will be used for the winery’s limited release bottling of their Brut de Noirs sparkling wine. J Vineyards and Winery also started their harvest on Sunday night at Nicole’s Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. The winery picked twenty tons of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes that will become part of J’s Cuvée 20 sparkling wine blend.
Sparkling wine is often used to kick off a celebration. Ironically, grapes used for sparkling wine, with their lower ripeness levels, are commonly the first grapes harvested, kicking off Sonoma County’s season each year!
Recent cooler temperatures throughout Sonoma County have slowed the pace of grape ripening, allowing more time for fruit to mature on the vines and giving winegrowers and winemakers more time to prepare. In warmer regions like Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley, many growers still anticipate an early harvest start date around mid-September, while cooler regions like Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast are forecasting a start date close to normal in early September.
Most early reports predict an average to above average size crop compared to 2012. Winegrowers and winemakers are encouraged by the quality of fruit on vines so far and believe it will be another stellar vintage throughout Sonoma County.
The Sonoma County Winegrowers and Sonoma County Vintners will continue to send out periodic updates on harvest. Visit www.sonomawinegrape.org and www.sonomawine.com to stay informed on the latest harvest news. You can also follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #sonomaharvest2013.