We’ve put the last of our 2018 wines to barrel, which means it is time to exhale, pour a glass of wine, and reflect upon harvest. Here are 5 things we can expect from the vintage:
1) Crop loads were normal to generous- Yields were robust, though likely down 10-15% from 2017 in most vineyard sites. This means that there should be bountiful supply from the vintage.
2) Warm weather led to a relatively early harvest- The summer’s warm weather led to early ripening, but a welcome September cooling put the brakes on a bit. We brought all vineyards in between Sept 25-30, which is slightly earlier than “normal”, but not as early as recent warm vintages of 2014 and 2015.
3) Sugars were generous- The warm weather led to generous sugar development, which means that we can expect alcohol levels to be on the higher side (closer to 14% than 12%).
4) Acids were higher than normal- It’s all about balance, and high sugars were balanced by higher acid levels. This means that we can expect some well balanced wines out of the vintage.
5) Phenolic ripening was beautiful- More important than the quantitatively satisfying sugar and acid numbers are the qualitatively critical signs of phenolic ripening as seeds, skins, and stems can be an important predictor of tannin quantity and quality. This harvest delivered, which means that we can expect some supple and integrated tannins out of the vintage.
Overall, I am delighted with Harvest 2018. A huge thank you to our vineyard partners for taking care of the vines all growing season long, the vineyard crews for picking them on time, and the amazing winery crew for managing them tirelessly for the past month while the juice bloomed into wines.