by Henry Lutz
Napa’s grapes today are at a turning point in their growth cycles as they ripen and enter the home stretch to harvest.
Varietals across the valley have begun to take on their telltale change of hues — petit verdot in Oakville, merlot and malbec in Rutherford, chardonnay in Carneros, zinfandel in Calistoga and cabernet sauvignon in virtually every locale.
by Celcile Ruffino
Veraison Underway in Napa Valley
According to the Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG), veraison, an annual benchmark in the winegrape growing season, is officially underway. Known as the onset of ripening, veraison marks the colorful transition from grape growth to grape ripening, resulting in several changes in fruit development. They not only change color, but they also begin to increase in weight, volume, and sugar content.
By Henry Lutz
The growing season has begun in Napa’s vineyards, with the first buds opening on vines from Carneros north to St. Helena. Over the coming weeks and months, shoots, leaves and berries will follow.
Caleb Mosley, senior viticulturist with Michael Wolf Vineyard Services, said Thursday that bud break is prevalent in the southern end of the county, citing a client’s blocks of chardonnay off Cuttings Wharf Road in the Carneros region.
“From what I’ve seen so far that’s where bud break is really taking off,” Mosley said.
By Henry Lutz
“We’re not going to be able to turn all this water into wine.”
That’s one grapegrower’s take on the surplus rainfall of recent months and what it will mean for vineyards in Napa County as the rain season ebbs and the growing season draws near.
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.