The challenging 2010 California winegrape harvest is in, and owners and winemakers are relieved and enthusiastic about the quality.
A wet spring was followed by a late start and then a long, cool growing season, ending with a heat spike that allowed grapes to reach maturity. Several regions reported slightly lower sugars and higher acids, with deep colors and flavors.
The season was a balancing act, with some winegrowers trimming fruit or pulling leaves to assure full fruit maturity. Regions reported lower to normal yields. The good news is that what was brought in displays remarkable quality throughout the state, with several vintners predicting a more restrained, elegant style of wine.
The crop is forecast at 3.3 million tons, down 6 percent from the August forecast, and down 12 percent from last year, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture crop forecast published the first week of October.
“In general, this year’s harvest was very interesting,” said Hal Huffsmith, senior vice president of vineyard operations for Trinchero Family Estates. “Wine quality should be good to very good, judging from the chemistries coming from grapes harvested throughout the nine counties in California where we have vineyards.”
Tomorrow: Reports from the Napa Valley and Sonoma County.