Harvest Reports for the Holidays: Santa Barbara, Paso Robles and Monterey

Merry Christmas! All of us at Vinesse hope you are getting to spend some quality time with the ones you love today and thoughout the weekend… perhaps even with a glass or two of wine thrown in for good measure.

Since you’ve taken the time to check in with us today, we’ll offer some reading material by continuing our series of reports on the California winegrape harvest…


Jim Stollberg, vineyard manager for Riverbench Vineyard and Winery, provides?the following insights:

“Harvest wrapped up for most of the Santa Maria Valley by the end of October. A few vineyards brought in the last of the later varieties, like Syrah, the first week in November, after holding out as long as possible.

“The cool summer and optimism for average yields and exceptional grape quality due to the extended hang time is interesting, as the weather turned variable in September. Long-time vineyard managers haven’t seen such fickle weather in the past few decades. A cycle of extreme, extended heat followed by rain and cold days and nights repeated itself for several weeks.

“In the vineyard we did not have an issue getting the fruit picked. The wines are showing exceptionally well; flavors are intense and developed. Though the vintage was a challenging one, I remain optimistic that our harvest time woes impacted operations but not quality.”


Jason Diefenderfer, director of winemaking for Hope Family Wines (Treana, Liberty School, Candor, Westside and Austin Hope wines), checks in with these observations:


“The 2010 harvest was unique in Paso Robles: It brought both high and low temperatures, wind and rain, but the grapes seemed content to wait until October to be picked. Thankfully, these events were not drastic and simply required some maneuvering and patience; they caused few issues other than stressful nights.

“We’re extremely happy with the overall quality; 2010 Paso Robles wines should show full flavors and depth, with slightly lower alcohol levels.”


A report from Steve Lohr, executive V.P./COO vineyards, for J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines:

“The 2010 growing season in Monterey County was the coolest since 1998. Cool weather in May led to a protracted bloom and set. Many growers were finding that they had above-average crop loads until a very unusual 108-plus degree heat wave came in August, just after veraison.

“Riesling and Pinot Noir were hard hit with losses of 20 to 30 percent, while most other varieties were much less affected. Many grapes, especially Chardonnay, were harvested roughly 1-1.5 degrees Brix below average due to a cool September and October. Grape acidity was nicely preserved, and extended hang time has resulted in nice peach, apricot and other stone fruit flavors in the wines.”

Tomorrow: Reports from Temecula and San Diego County.

Posted in Wine Region Profiles
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