This report just came in from a local agricultural information source:
November 20, 2019 – Wine Industry Advisor
‘Wine grapes across California ripened at lower sugars, thanks to the extended, cool growing season, and vintners are praising the full flavors, fresh acidity and superb balance of the 2019 fruit.’
This is great news and accurately depicts the status, as well as our current state of bliss. As much as we appreciate the Wine Industry Advisor for their reporting though, it might be even more important to hear the verbal harvest report from Dave Abreu, given when he stopped by our St. Helena office a couple of weeks ago. Dave may be the most respected viticulturalist in the Napa Valley — if not he’s certainly on many short lists. When I asked him how his harvest was going, he remarked that 2019 may be the best year for wine grapes in his career. That’s extraordinary news. Look for some remarkable wines from the Napa Valley in vintage 2019.
We finished picking the last of our grapes three weeks ago, and above is a photo taken by my daughter Lizzie on October 21 when we picked our Neyers Ranch 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a cluster from ‘North Vineyard’, a parcel that Dave Abreu planted for us in 1992. The vines are 27 years-old, and the crop from this vineyard was 3.2 tons/acre. Note the ‘bloom’ or waxy substance on the skin that serves to trap the wild yeast that we rely on for fermentation. You won’t see a cluster more beautiful than this – anywhere. In the photo below, vineyard manager Raul is driving a tractor hauling two bins of just-harvested Cabernet Sauvignon from our ‘Knoll Vineyard’. Each bin holds about one-half ton. All grapes have been harvested by hand, working with a crew of 6-8 people.