Ok, yes it is August 4th, so why are we harvesting? In short, our whole growing season shifted back by about a month due to early budbreak. We have still enjoyed one of the longest growing seasons of any region on earth, but the early start means an early (by calendar date) harvest. Much like 2014 and 2013, we had an early start to the growing season due to an extremely dry, and warm, winter. Budbreak was up to 3 weeks "early," and we had a swift start to the season as March and April were both slightly warmer than usual. However, May was one of the coolest months in memory (cooler than February in fact) which brought the season back into balance. Bloom was prolonged due to the cool, windy, weather in May and early June, which resulted in some shatter (particularly in Syrah). Late June and July were about average weather-wise with highs in the upper 60's to low 70's in Sta. Rita Hills, and into the high 80's and 90's in Happy Canyon. Nighttime temps were quite cool, as most days featured a classic marine layer scenario with cool afternoon breezes and heavy fog in the evening and mornings. The drought has definitely impacted yields, and we have intentionally used absolutely as little irrigation as possible, further compounding the low yields, but resulting in great phenolic maturity and spectacular flavor so far. Combine early budbreak with low yields and lots of water stress, and the result is the earliest harvest in our history, breaking last years record by 5 days.
Vintage characteristics of 2015 so far:
- Another drought vintage, combined with a warm winter = Early budbreak, therefore early harvest dates
- Cool, windy weather during flowering (bloom)
- Classic coastal summer weather featuring marine layer activity
- Low crop levels (due to our own protocols, bloom conditions, and the drought)
- *Our first pick today: Sauvignon Blanc at a mere 2.17 Tons/Acre. Ultra-low for SB.
- Terrific vine balance and phenolic maturity, so far.
- Potential quality is extremely promising, but quantities are tiny
- Brandon, John & Steve
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