By Henry Lutz
YOUNTVILLE — It’s pruning season in the vineyards, and at this year’s Napa County Pruning Contest the only thing sharper than the shears were the whetted skills of the contestants handling them. Braving a steady downpour Wednesday afternoon, a record turnout of more than 100 contestants competed among the vineyard rows at Beringer Vineyard’s Gamble Ranch property for the 16th iteration of the annual contest.
By W. Blake Gray
Imagine if I could tell grapegrowers a way to produce more wine from the same vineyard that is also actually better. Happy Thanksgiving winegrowers, I’m here for you!
There’s another culprit to add to the list of reasons wines are unintentionally getting higher in alcohol: crop-thinning. This revelation comes from Rootstock, Napa Valley Grapegrowers’ annual technical conference for its members.
The word “unintentionally” is important. Many vintners, especially in Napa Valley, want their wines to have higher alcohol because it brings greater body and more perceived sweetness, not to mention higher scores from last-generation critics. But plenty of others, especially Pinot Noir producers, claim to have little control over alcohol levels. They like to say they give us what nature gives them.
By Henry Lutz
People from all corners of the wine grape industry swarmed the Napa Valley Expo on Tuesday for myriad product booths, displays of tractors and assorted farm equipment and vast tents for seminars and vineyard and wine trials.
This year’s event included expanded seminars in Spanish. “We have headphones in the seminars with translators,” explained Jennifer Putnam, executive director of Napa Valley Grapegrowers.
“So if you’re a Spanish speaker you can go in the seminars, put the headphones on and there’s a real-time translation happening in your headphones so you can follow the slides and all the information.”
By Kerana Todorov
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers, an organization with about 700 members, has run a version of Rootstock for the 23 years, said Napa Valley Grapegrowers president Garrett Buckland at the event at Napa Valley Expo. It is a “one-stop shop” for anyone seeking ways to improve wine quality, he said.
“The focus of Rootstock is really to provide ultra premium vendors with really ultra premium clients and have that framework around some of the best seminars that you can find in the wine business today,” said Buckland, who helped coordinate the post-harvest event.
By Garrett Buckland
As we near the end of what is turning out to be a picture- perfect Napa Valley harvest, I wanted to take this opportunity to share a brief summary of the season.
The harvest began this year in early August as vineyard crews brought in the first fruit of 2016. While no year in the vineyard is the same, 2016 represents what many growers consider to be a fairly “typical” Napa growing season with evenly distributed rainfall, the right blend of cool, foggy mornings, warm days, few extreme spikes in temperature, hardy canopy growth and average yields.