by Henry Lutz
Pete Richmond remembers vintages by how difficult they were.
On the heels of a growing season in 2017 that forced Napa grape growers like him to grapple with excess rain, an intense late-season heat spike, a hail storm and ultimately a scourge of devastating wildfires, for Richmond, the 2018 growing season will likely be lost among the more challenging years.
“This will be a vintage that I don’t remember,” Richmond said. “It’s been seamless. And that’s not because of us. It’s just because of the forces of nature … It hasn’t challenged us as growers.”
by Lucy Shaw
According to Napa Valley Grapegrowers, the 2018 growing season was “picture-perfect” and the famous winemaking region is gearing up for a “landmark harvest”.
The growing season started after the February rains. Mild spring weather made for an extended bloom and at set the conditions were perfect, with sunshine, mild temperatures and no winds.
The fruit continued to ripen during the summer months and from June to early August temperatures were steady and warm with no heat spikes, creating “ideal” conditions for the final stretch before picking.
by Sasha Paulsen
Harvest 2018 in Napa Valley is underway, as Judd’s Hill Winery northeast of Napa picked its first grapes on Aug. 10.
“It wasn’t a lot,” said Judd Finkelstein of Judd’s Hill. “A half-ton of a white German field blend for a custom crush but it was ready.”
Heidi Soldinger of Napa Valley Grapegrowers said reports are beginning to come in from growers who are sampling grapes and beginning to set picking dates.
The launch is later than 2017, which was an early harvest after a summer of heat spikes, Soldinger said. In contrast, this year has been a more even, less challenging growing season.
by Jancis Robinson
When John Williams of Frog’s Leap organised the first organic wine growing conference in Napa Valley in 1989, nine people turned up (“and I paid seven of them”, he claims). At the end of this month, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers will hold their seventh organic conference and have had to cap sign-ups at 120.
by Kerana Todorov
Napa County residents and other visitors on Saturday headed to vineyards they see every day but do not stop by. They were invited to take part in “Afternoon in the Vineyards,” an event Napa Valley Vintners and Napa Valley Grapegrowers sponsor every year.