Near Silicon Valley, Another Valley Prepares for the Harvest Season

Santa Clara Valley from Joseph D. Grant Country Park, Northern CaliforniaThis is the time of the year when we like to share harvest reports from various regions with you. After all, there is no more critical part of the winemaking process than when the grapes are harvested, and the kind of shape they’re in when they are.

We’ve already brought you a report from California’s Carneros district and a preview from the Santa Lucia Highlands.

Today, I’d like share excerpts of a media release from the Santa Clara Valley — which continues to produce wine even as a different kind of valley (Silicon Valley) keeps pushing people closer and closer for affordable housing. Here’s the report from Sarah’s Vineyard…

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Sarsh’s Vineyard, one of the premier winegrowing estates in the Santa Clara Valley, is gearing up for a mid-September start to the grape harvest. Proprietor Tim Slater is excited to get going: “First up will be Pinot Noir, our flagship varietal. The weather has been cooperating and everything is lining up beautifully for us to be crushing grapes next month.”

Most of the region’s vineyards are located just a few miles south from tech giants Google, Apple, HP and Intel. But before it became known as “Silicon Valley,” the Santa Clara Valley boasted a long, 175-year history of grape growing and wine production. Tim is one of the young, next-generation winemakers working to carry on that legacy.

“Our location in the ‘Mt. Madonna Gap’ gives us the perfect balance of warm sunny days and cooling winds and fog from the ocean,” explains Tim. “This year’s growing season has been an interesting one — the return of winter and spring rains after years of drought has given the vines a shot in the arm, vigor-wise. As soon as veraison was finishing up, we spent a lot of time hedging the vine rows to open up the canopy and allow the fruit the air circulation and exposure necessary for final ripening.”

Adds Slater: “Some weather events back in May affected fruit set a bit. We’re seeing smaller than normal clusters on the various Pinot Noir clones. I believe quality will be very high; there just won’t be a whole lot of grapes this year.”

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