The 2012 harvest has come to an end in most Napa Valley appellations.
A few correspondents reported that some of the last fruit was being brought in on Tuesday, in anticipation of rain the following day. In general, growers report bringing in fruit of excellent quality, thanks in part to perfect weather.
Here’s the final installment of the 2012 harvest report, organized by American Viticultural Areas:
Calistoga — Paul Smith, Vermeil Wines at OnThEdge Winery — “The grapes from Vintage 2012 are in but the Fat Lady still needs to sing. Therefore, I hereby offer our tasting room and riverside patio in downtown Calistoga to any Fat Lady (or, as an EOEmployer, any Skinny Gentleman) who needs to sing! It’s Open Mike Time and we have a state-of-the art, killer P.A. system and can provide background percussion, instruments and multi-part harmonies. So come one and all on Friday, Nov. 2, it’s free.”
Diamond Mountain District — Dawnine Dyer, Dyer Vineyards — “Diamond Mountain has a few brave souls with fruit still on the vine, but for most harvest is officially over. Sterling finished picking their Diamond Mountain Ranch on Saturday and reports that most of the fruit is going to their 2012 Reserve program. Reverie has pressed off the last of their wines and reports great quality with good yields — still slightly lower than 2007. While the cellars are chock full, there are a lot of happy winemakers on Diamond Mountain.”
Chiles Valley District — Volker Eisele, Eisele Vineyards — “As you read this, the harvest in our district is complete. The quality is extraordinary and the quantity was very good. Some ranches even reported record yields. After the extremely difficult year 2011, this year turned out to be almost easy, the little rain of last week not withstanding. If there was any problem it had to do with labor. From year to year it is getting more difficult to get enough people at the time of need. With this we say good-bye until next year.”
Spring Mountain District — Stuart Smith, Smith-Madrone Winery — “Very little has changed since last week with only two Spring Mountain District producers with fruit still on the vines. Even with the Wednesday rain there should be little or no damage to the cabernet sauvignon that is still out. It was a wonderful harvest and we all expect a great vintage.”
St. Helena — Cathy Corison, Corison Winery — “Everything is picked-out in St. Helena except a little bit of cabernet sauvignon. Last week’s cold rains were followed by dry windy conditions, allaying fears of rot. Then several days of glorious, late Indian Summer set in with highs well into the 80s — perfect weather for finishing up the season. Tight tank space in wineries remains the only major challenge. We all have a bumper crop of deliciousness in our cellars.”
Rutherford — Jean Hoefliger, Alpha Omega — “2012 will remain an outstanding vintage, due to a steady growing season with no huge heat spikes. A curveball nature threw at us in 2012 was very thick skin on some fruit in Rutherford. We decided to let that fruit hang through the rain last week to make the skin thinner and soften the tannins. It seems to have been the right choice. Alpha Omega’s Georges III was picked Tuesday, Oct. 30, right before the next rain which is predicted to be about an inch. Altogether, Rutherford has ripened well with nice complexity and structured tannins.”
Oakville — Molly Hodgins, Flora Springs Winery — “We finished the last bit of harvest Tuesday morning. It feels great to be done. A season of hard work has paid off and some fantastic 2012 wines are sure to be made. Paul Steinauer of Flora Springs says that this year he was able to decide when to harvest based solely on ripeness and flavor, not on impending weather. Look for this vintage to exceed the last few for this reason.”
Atlas Peak — Jan Krupp, Stagecoach Vineyards — “Grapes on Atlas Peak have dried out; hence harvest has resumed at a rapid pace with most wineries wanting to finish before Wednesday’s expected rain. Grape quality has been excellent in all varietals. Cabernet sauvignon yields have been below average with all other varietals displaying above average yields.”
Oak Knoll District — Jon Ruel, Trefethen Vineyards & Winery — “We have wrapped up the harvest at Trefethen after bringing in the last of the cabernet sauvignon. Although our vineyard is now quiet, the winery is hopping with activity from pumpovers and punchdowns to pressing off and barreling down. Lots of grape trucks over the weekend suggests some wineries waited through the first rain but wanted to finish before the second storm this week. We are still very excited about the quality of the 2012 vintage! Go Giants!”
Carneros — Lee Hudson, Hudson Vineyards — “Two thousand twelve is off the vine; sign sealed and delivered. What a fantastic harvest, both plentiful and tasty. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Onward.”