Friday, August 17, 2012

Dog Days of Summer on Spring Mountain

It’s official, Harvest 2012 has begun in the Napa Valley! Reports of the first bins of Pinot Noir have been crushed at Mumm Napa Valley, and the season has commenced. Although this may seem early compared to the 2010 and 2011 growing seasons, winemakers throughout the valley remind us that we’re actually “back to normal”. In any given year, the first grapes to hit the sorting table in mid-August are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for sparkling wines. If there were an opposite end to the spectrum, we’re it – mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

Tucker Whitehorse Leahy
We are located along the southern slopes of the Spring Mountain District Appellation, high above the fog line and west of the town of Saint Helena. Whereas most of the valley has begun measuring brix (sugar levels), we’re only 90% through verasion and estimate a mid-October Harvest. Our vineyard manager, viticulturist and winemaker are surprisingly optimistic due to the favorable growing conditions to date; however there is one member of the team that remains unimpressed: Tucker Whitehorse Leahy . With responsibilities ranging from pheasant control to grape sampling, Tucker finds the cooler temps from 2010 and 2011 much more conducive to his management style. Always the team player, he’s putting on a good attitude in this warmer year, but vows to monitor all vineyard work from the shade.

James and Elizabeth
With harvest still a distant thought, the best solution is to distract ourselves with the start to the NFL Preseason. Like the majority of us in the Napa Valley, the San Francisco 49ers are a family run organization, and it just so happens the York family has an unbridled passion for the Napa Valley. They have been terrific ambassadors promoting the region and its wines for many years, and many of us bleed red and gold in support of the team and the 49ers Foundation. Seeing as the grapes are in no rush to ripen, we felt very comfortable leaving the ranch for the big city for an exciting afternoon of Football and Wine.  Even though our winemaker is a staunch Oakland Raiders fan, he was admittedly jealous we had the opportunity to catch the first 49ers Pre-Season game. If the mere fact that Harvest and the 49ers began with such excitement on Friday, August 10th, we should all look forward to a terrific year in 2012!


Next Week: Napa Valley Vintners Harvest Party and Winemaker Preparations

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