We are in our sixth week of harvest season and it’s all hands on deck here at Peju Province Winery! Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are all in the cellar and we’ve recently started bringing in red grapes including Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel. Winemaker Sara Fowler estimates that we have picked approximately 34 percent of our fruit, or about 271 tons.
When asked to describe harvest 2015 so far, Vineyard Manager Ryan Pierce said, “Early and ripe!” Ryan explained that after three historically large crops throughout California, the 2015 vintage is looking light in yield throughout Napa Valley. Cluster counts per vine are about normal, but cluster size and berry size appear to be smaller than usual. Ryan explained, “Smaller berry sizes can mean greater concentration and intensity in the wines.”
Our early budbreak and warm summer growing conditions in Napa Valley have resulted in high ripeness in the fruit. Our Cabernet Sauvignon is developing beautifully on the vine and will soon reach optimum ripeness and flavor over the next few weeks. Ryan noted, “I’m looking forward to tasting through our Cabernet Sauvignon after fermentation.”
That being said, the quality of our grapes is exceptional this year, and Sara says 2015 is going to be another stellar vintage.
The Valley Fire that devastated our Lake County neighbors and many other vintners also had an impact on our harvesting efforts last week. Fortunately, we did not lose any of our grapes but the fire did get close to our Persephone Vineyard in Pope Valley so we weren’t able to send crews in to harvest until we knew it was completely safe. We added a silent auction component to our recent Harvest Celebration Dinner and all of the proceeds from the auction will be donated to benefit victims of the fire. Our hearts and thoughts go out to those affected.
Looking ahead to this week, our cellar crew has a full press schedule as we bring in Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Despite long days, our team is in high spirits, saying that they live for harvest season every year!