2023 - RECORD RAIN & COLDER THAN NORMAL
Harvest has just begun as this letter goes to press. It has been a very wet and cooler than normal year for sure. We have accumulated more than 30 inches of rain this year, which is slightly more than my wettest year on record way back in 1998 (the year my son was born). We have had just 3 days 95 degrees or higher and just one single day that reached 100 degrees for a few moments before the coastal breezes blew back in to cool things off. The chart above shows the daily recorded temperatures of 2022 in green and 2023 in blue. It has been a tough ripening year for sure, with lower lows and lower highs. 2023 saw a good late June to early July and then a few amazing days in September, but overall, we are about 3 weeks behind last year, which is a bit scary since we finished harvesting in late November last year. I have never seen a harvest go into December, but if the weather cooperates, it could be possible this year. That is a huge “IF”, since there is rain predicted later this month and we even got a bit of rain last week. It has been one of the nicest years for people, but not quite the best year for grapes. I know that I am contradicting myself here, but actually, it has been an amazing year for grapes, and I have incredibly high expectations, but we just need to clock a bit more heat to finish ripening some of our later varieties like Grenache and Mourvèdre and Roussanne. Sugars are slowly accumulating while acidity remains very high, which is an ideal situation. We want the sugar and flavor intensity to slowly rise, while the acidity slowly lowers. This could very well be about the most naturally balanced vintage ever if things keep moving along. Unfortunately, it is still a bit too early to tell even though we are heading deeper into October. I am a farmer at heart, so I will continue to wake up each morning quite early with an unhealthy (some might say crazy) amount of optimism. At this point we cannot do much more as we have just finished our 3rd fruit drop pass to lower yields while performing a bit of triage to ensure just the best clusters remain on the vine. As the days get shorter and the nights a bit colder, we are literally running out of enough sunlight to fully mature our later ripening varieties. Dropping fruit allows the vines to focus their energy on maturing a smaller crop, which effectively speeds up sugar and flavor accumulation in the fewer clusters that remain. We always do 2 passes per year at very specific moments to manage yield and flavors, but this year forced us to do a third pass. Each pass is very time consuming and expensive as it must be performed by well-trained vineyard employees who have to assess approximate yield and cluster spacing and damaged clusters and overall expectations while walking countless rows and making these informed decisions on the fly. Harvest is always the sum of countless decisions, but this year there are a few more variables at play requiring a few more decisions. We weigh what we know based upon 30+ years of experience and then we call it in and hope for the best. I am confident in ourselves and our team and our experience. Mark my words, some great wines will come out of this vintage, and I look forward to sharing them with you one day down the road...
CommentsCommenting has been turned off.
Keep up to date on the latest wine releases, events, and promotions.