Wine Institute: California May Have Trifecta of Great Vintages

More flavor, less grapes – that’s the verdict on California’s 2014 harvest.


Recent numbers released by the United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service  predict that California’s 2014 harvest numbers will be down eight percent, falling to 3.9 million tons.  


“The California grape crop was reported to be earlier than last year in crop development,” the report stated. “Bunch counts were reported to be down from last year’s counts for wine grapes and Thompsons.”


The good news, wine industry experts Wine Institute said, is that positive reports of the harvest are flooding in from winemakers across the state.


A recent press release by the organization pointed out that, despite pockets of adverse conditions, the harvest may one of the most memorable of the young decade.

“California vintners and growers across the state are grateful for another excellent vintage despite an ongoing drought and earthquake that rocked south Napa in late August just as crush was getting underway,” the release said.


A myriad of vintners reported positive news about the harvest.


“In general, yields were average, with excellent fruit quality,” Windy Oaks Winery and Vineyards boss Jim Schultz said in the release. “Most varietals showed nice balance, with slightly lower acidity due to warmer-than-normal night temperatures. All of the elements are in place for an outstanding vintage.”


A strong spring set the stage for what could be a sterling vintage for Pinot Noir, Hahn Estate General Manager Paul Clifton said.


“A perfect spring and early bud break/veraison coupled with the typical daytime temperatures and accompanying winds has led to another incredible harvest for Monterey and the Santa Lucia Highlands,” Clifton said. “The quality of Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco tastes good to excellent.”


The estate’s Chardonnay is on target, he said.


Napa Valley’s Julianne Laks, winemaker at Cakebread, said even temperatures and late spring rains contributed to the quality of this year’s grapes.


“Early indications show the 2014 wines are remarkable with great intense flavor, beautiful balance and fresh acidity,” Laks said. “The white wines are richly flavored with excellent acidic structure. The red wines display deep color with highly complex aromas and flavors, women together with elegant, supple tannins.”


Riverbench Vineyard and Winery winemaker Clarissa Nagy echoed her colleagues’ sentiments.


“Quality has been very high with small berries leading to very concentrated flavors,” Nagy said. “Overall, I am very pleased with what I see for vintage 2014.”


Origin: Snooth – Articles


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