Our vintage 2022 kicked off August 18!
We first began picking with the Portola Vineyard in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. Early field sampling indicated it might be a ‘normal’ year and we anticipated a late August start, but warm days and a light crop conspired to move that start date up considerably! Nevertheless, we were prepared. The Dry Creek Valley almost always leads our vintage and neighboring properties came in successively.
The early season picks enjoy the morning fog cover and picking crews are in high spirits as they start the day’s harvest at first light. Tractors hum as they slowly tow grape gondolas down the vine rows and crews sing and chant collaboratively to pass the time.
Our first parcels of Zinfandel matured in the final week of August, and we had a healthy percentage of our fruit ‘in the barn’ by the end of August. Things were moving along at a nice clip for a few weeks when a surprise heat wave struck and temperatures pegged the mercury at well over 100 degrees for nearly a week straight! We stepped up the pace of harvest to get these sites harvested as quickly as possible before sugars spiked.
Once the heat wave passed, we enjoyed a little more than a week of ideal grape ripening weather…until we were taken on a weather rollercoaster with the arrival of significant rainfall in September. Since the soils were so dry, much of this water ran off or was absorbed into the soil.
Once again back to a typical weather pattern we rode out the final days of September with our harvest nearly complete. Only our 100-plus year old Carignane remained on the vine a bit longer than anticipated, but was fermenting along beautifully by the end of the first week of October.
Grapevine yields were down dramatically from typical years with many varieties coming in at less than half the anticipated tonnage. On the bright side, the flavor development and fruit chemistry were lovely with extremely healthy fruit composition and the vintage rewarded with wonderful wines.
At this early stage the young wine flavors have been fruit-driven and we have been pleased to see that natural acidity remained fresh and balanced. In the red wines, tannins are on the softer side, and we anticipate this vintage becoming a delicate and highly approachable one in the bottle/glass.
As we wrap up the vintage in the cellar we are assembling early-stage blends, barreling-down young red wines, completing secondary (malolactic) fermentations, and tasting constantly to assess quality and evaluate trials and vineyard practices to prepare for vintage 2023.
For those who cannot wait, the first taste of the 2022 wines will arrive in December!
Cheers, Yoav (Founder) and Ondine (Head Winemaker)