It has been a fast-paced harvest season, but the latest cool snap seems to have slowed things a bit — and that’s welcome news for most growers, as well as the wineries.
“I’m very glad we’re getting a bit of a break with the recent cool snap,” says Matt Hatcher, owner of Hatcher Vineyard and Winery at Murphys. “Now, we can let the fruit hang on the vine a little longer and develop a little more flavor.”
The cool snap is just what the wineries needed, according to Nick Frey, president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission. “Harvest was coming on so fast we were worried the tanks would get full and the sugars would get too high on the berries left in the vineyard. However, it’s cooled down which has slowed everything, and that’s good.”
The Sonoma area is about a third of the way through harvest, which is still ahead of normal, according to Frey. Other areas are reporting similar progress, with harvest typically running a week to 10 days ahead of schedule.
Yields are trailing a bit behind last year, but no one seems to be complaining. Prices have rebounded to some extent, especially in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Frey says. But, that rebound hasn’t translated to all varietals.
“Growers are not even getting insulting offers for Merlot,” he says. “It’s odd, because Merlot is supposedly gaining popularity among wine connoisseurs.”