As a winemaker, the blending process is where I get to earn my stripes, composing a distinct expression of the vintage and capturing a snapshot in time. Monitoring the individual grape varieties through the growing process in the vineyard and following their progress into barrel lends to a keen understanding of how each grape is performing in the vintage.
Soil samples from left to right: Sonoma Valley AVA, Alexander Valley AVA, Knights Valley AVA
Each vintage has its own personality and is remembered for different things. From heavy rains to heat, and wildfires to earthquakes, responding to each year’s challenges often defines what goes into the bottle. The 2016 vintage, however, can be characterized by some of the most consistent weather we’ve had in California for years.
It’s close to a month before we expect to see the first grapes, and I’m still trying to answer the question, “How is this year’s harvest looking?” The growing season got started with the long anticipated El Niño rains, which certainly helped replenish the reservoirs and ground water after four consecutive dry years.