“The crop is just about on par this year,” says Chris Taranto, communications director for the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. “Our growers are reporting excellent canopy balance. The berry size is generally smaller, with looser clusters, so that bodes very well for color and flavor.”

Heading into the final leg of the season, it’s shaping up to be a good harvest and a good vintage, according to Taranto. “We’re basically on schedule. We’ll probably start some harvesting in late September, with the bulk of harvest occurring in October.”

The Lodi-Woodbridge area is reporting similar circumstances. While bunch counts were generally optimistic at the beginning of the season, other minor factors have since come into play that portend a slightly less rosy picture — at least in terms of yield.

“Yes, the initial bunch counts were high,” says Mark Chandler, executive director of the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission. “But, we had losses due to shatter and to shot berry that didn’t mature or size up. All in all, we think it will be an average size crop at best, in the 500,000 ton range for the Lodi area.”

It’s quality and vintage that have the industry buzzing across the state.

“Due to the mild weather this season, with little spring rain, mild summer temperatures, and minimal pest and disease pressure, we’re anticipating very high quality for this vintage,” Chandler says. “We’ve been tasting the berries in the field already and they’re terrific. We can’t wait to get them off the vine and into the fermenters. A few grapes will be picked starting next week, but August 13 is when we’ll really get into gear.”