The SOMM Journal

October/November 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 94 of 120

94 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2014 { sonoma } EACH HARVEST BRINGS ITS OWN UNIQUE CHALLENGES and 2014 was no different. From drought-like conditions to a magnitude 6.1 earthquake in the midst of harvest, Mother Nature did its best to dish out plenty of unusual activity to keep vintners on their toes. Mild and warmer temperatures coupled with drought-like conditions in most of California this growing season pushed bud break about ten days to two weeks earlier than last year. At Hanzell Vineyards, located on the west side of the Mayacamas Mountains overlooking the town of Sonoma, the extreme drought conditions forced the winery to do something they have never done in the past: deep irrigations (six gallons per vine) once in December, January and February, in order to prevent the roots from drying and to keep them viable. But, several well-timed rains in the spring, followed by warm, sunny weather, ultimately made for ideal growing conditions, which pushed flowering and veraison. The clusters themselves this year were on the airy side with smaller berries and some shatter. Earlier-than-average ripening sent vintners scrambling to empty tanks and barrels and get wine into bottles before the new fruit arrived. On August 4, the vineyard crew at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards barely finished bottling when they began harvesting Pinot Noir for sparkling wine from a few blocks in the Home Ranch, located immediately around the winery. It's one of the earliest harvests recorded in Gloria Ferrer's almost 30 year history, only surpassed by the harvest of 2004, in which the winery began picking on August 2. Just three weeks later, winery teams were scrambling for a different reason when a 6.1 magnitude earthquake centered in the Napa side of the Carneros appellation shook properties for miles in the early morning hours on August 24. The event caused significant damage to the city of Napa, surrounding win - eries and several wine inventories, leaving those vintners barely affected feeling very fortunate. But the show must go on, and perhaps what's most exciting about the 2014 harvest is the quality. "The cool mornings and nice, long mild daytime temperatures gave us nice long hang times," said Steven Urberg, Winemaker at Gloria Ferrer. "I think that 2014 is going to be very similar to 2012 in terms of quantity and quality," says Hanzell Vineyards Winemaker Michael McNeill. "Overall, I really like what I see and think there is very good potential." Crush Time! THE EARLY 2014 HARVEST IN SONOMA SHOWS THE PROMISE OF QUALITY by Tia Butts PHOTO COURTESY OF HANZELL PHOTO COURTESY OF GLORIA FERRER CAVES & VINEYARDS PHOTO COURTESY OF HANZELL VINEYARDS The first day of the 2014 harvest at Hanzell Vineyards. Harvest at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - October/November 2014