2014 handed us a pressure-cooker of a harvest, the most condensed in memory. We started August 30 and went non-stop through September 24, except for three Sundays out of four - we were done in 3½ weeks! The yields were excellent, as was the quality of the fruit. And this is our third consecutive great harvest - we never had three wonderful vintages in a row!
The 2013 growing season was as close to perfect as a worried farmer could hope for: outstanding quality, nicely sized grape clusters, and very good yields. But this year was especially hectic. We picked fruit in various blocks at both of our vineyard sites practically non-stop for a month.
Though we faced a long and late 2012 harvest, with powdery mildew that meant dropping a lot of fruit, our spirits never sagged because the fruit looked fabulous from the beginning. Mild weather throughout the growing season meant more hang time; then a warming trend in early October helped ripen the grapes and enabled them to reach their full potential.
It was a harrowing harvest preceded by a difficult growing season. We encountered challenges all along the way: a cold spring that showered us with untimely rain, bringing us late bloom and fruit set; a cool summer that resulted in high pressure for powdery mildew and early botrytis; a shortage of manpower at harvest; and in the end, dramatically reduced yields. But thanks to our team's valiant efforts, we were able to successfully address each of these challenges. We believe 2011 will turn out to be a vintage of excellent quality, with low-alcohol, good acid and well-balanced Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs that will age gracefully for a long time.
The 2010 growing season was cold and challenging, one of the most difficult on record and disastrous for many northern California's vineyards. For us, the silver lining was that the long hang time allowed mature flavor development and, being a small estate focused on quality, we were able to turn our 20th year into a vintage of sterling quality from both of our organic vineyards.