Harvest season is an exciting time for wine as we look ahead at what's to come and begin to anticipate the 2019 vintages of our favorite wines. It's also the busiest time of year for our producers, with many people putting in overtime and overnight hours. These busy wineries took a moment to update us on their harvest, and we are happy to be able to share this recap with you!
Badger Mountain Vineyard - Columbia Valley, WA
''The first fruit to come off the vine this year was Riesling! Sugar and acid were at ideal levels for a smooth summer sipper!
This year, winter came full force to test the integrity of our vines. An uncommonly late and vigorous snowfall arrived in January, prolonging dormancy for the vines. As the weather slowly turned toward spring, wind turbines were used to keep steady circulation of warm air throughout the vineyard. Further into the growing season, when fruit returned to the vines, Vineyard Manager, Eudoro Lucatero, started crop-thinning. This method involves strategically cutting off grape clusters before they fully develop, thereby directing more botanical energy into a lesser quantity of fruit - essentially, quality over quantity.
In the same way that winter hit record lows, summer months saw abnormally low temperatures, with only a few days exceeding 100 degrees. It turns out that this was also better for the vines. Consistently warm rather than hot, summer brought with it excellent conditions for a promising growing season.
Now that harvesting has begun and cold temperatures are rushing in, Eudoro will make use of the wind turbines again in order to prevent frost damage. He will also utilize more leaf thinning than in prior years, for the same purpose. As challenges present themselves, the Badger Mountain team continues to innovate sustainable practices to tackle them."
Beaver Creek Vineyards - Lake County, CA
"Harvest is looking abundant after a mild summer and wet winter. The vineyard received light showers this week on Monday and Wednesday. Evening temperatures show signs of Fall while a heat wave is coming. We will start picking the first of our Cabernet on Tuesday morning at 3 am this week – before the high temperatures hit. We are hoping to pick most of the vineyard in the second week of October closer to the full moon. We have been irrigating every 4 days for 4 hours with our pristine creek water."
Bodegas Iranzo – Utiel-Requena, Spain
"We started harvest on September the 7th with the white Semillon and finished on the 11th of October with Bobal. It’s been a normal time of the year for harvest, not too early nor late.
We had two days of rain at the beginning of the harvest and had to stop for several days, however this helped to finish the ripening process. Otherwise the weather caused no problems this year.
We did half of our harvest manually, which is a record regarding our volume. This had an impact in managing all the people involved and loads of logistics, but the quality of the end product results much better this way. We even harvested with boxes one day, in order to produce our carbonic maceration wine.
This harvest had a very low production compared to a regular year, thus the alcoholic degree of this year’s wines is very high, grapes were very ripe with higher polyphenols. Grapes were very healthy as well, which is a key factor for producing quality wines, especially aging wines like Crianza and our no sulfites added wines. This is a special year in our history with the highest alcoholic degree and all the benefits that come with it."
Domaine Gioulis, Sofos – Greece
"The white grape varieties Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and the pink skinned Sauvignon Gris were harvested September 12-20. For the red grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Agiorgitiko the harvest took place from October 1-5. Lastly for the grey skinned Moschofilero the harvest took place from October 5-15. Generally, the harvest was 8 to 10 days later than in an average year.
Difficult weather conditions with rain and snow occurred during winter, a mild spring followed From early July up to mid-October there was adequate sun and medium temperatures which gave a late growing season and late ripening conditions. It was really surprising that we had ideal weather conditions especially during harvest. It has been for more than a decade to have such a beautiful weather.
This will probably be one of the best vintages of the last 15 years. The ideal weather conditions offered quality grapes and good ripening conditions, which has resulted in an excellent phenolic ripeness for the red wines. The 2019 white wines will display fine pure primary aromas, and great balance between acidity and alcohol."
Edoardo Miroglio - Thraciana Valley, Bulgaria
"The 2019 harvest started August 14th and ended September 12th. Edoardo Miroglio is expecting vintage 2019 to be very successful! Grapes were harvested with Bulgarian pride!"
Girasole Vineyards - Mendocino, CA
"Sunny, warm days with cool nights are making for ideal ripening conditions for our Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. Here is a nice picture of our Cabernet grapes. This varietal stays on the vine the longest and will be the last picked. We will most likely finish up with these end of October or possibly early November."
Keeler Estate Vineyard - Eola-Amity Hills, OR
"We now have all of our fruit in the winery and things are beginning to calm down around here. We are happy with how everything has been looking and tasting! We cannot wait to see how these wines will develop! We are also trying a few new things in 2019 to increase the complexity in our wines and show our site’s unique character. I have attached a link to some photos from the harvest."
Maison Raymond – Bordeaux
"The harvest with the whites and more precisely with the Sauvignon Blanc started on Monday September 11, about 5 to 10 days earlier than usual.
It was a rainy and cool spring, which made it difficult for the vines to flower, causing a “dripping” (loss of grapes) on the red. We experienced a hot and dry month of July, and a fresh & humid month of August. The vines suffered from this hot weather, but they are resilient. The difference this year is that the merlots arrived at maturity quickly and the window to harvest at the optimum maturity is very small between the whites and the reds.
The end of the season and beginning of the harvest is quite dry, but with the change in climate that is something that will be become the norm. The vines have adapted and the resulting wines will be of great quality.
The unique characteristics of the 2019 vintage include that the raisins are very fruity. The acidity is quite low on some plots of Merlot were vinified into rosé. With the temperatures quite high, it is a hot vintage! There is a great potential to realize great cuvées of all three colors."
Perlage Winery - Veneto, Italy
"This year’s harvest was a return to the rhythms and seasons of the past. Compared to the previous vintages, Perlage’s 2019 vintage was somewhat late. As one of the directors, Claudio Nardi, recalls, it has been at least 10 years since we had a harvest of glera grapes start in late September.
Looking back over the year: we had a rainy spring, which led to a smaller flowering in the vineyards. This also translated into a smaller quantity of grapes and bunches, but they were firmer and more compact. June and July were very hot, which resulted in small grapes with thicker skins. Looking at the influence of the weather conditions over the quality of the grapes, our oenologist Andrea Gallina tells us that the temperature variations over the summer, especially in the hilly areas, will give us fresh, aromatic wines full of floral scents.
Chairman Ivo Nardi adds, “the conditions turned out to be good even during the harvesting and subsequent transferral of the grapes to the winery. There were no spikes in temperature during the harvest weeks so the grapes remained virtually intact until the start of the vinification process in the winery”.
Overall, the vintage was excellent! Although the quantity of grapes picked was lower than in previous years, the grapes were healthy, with a good balance between acidity and sugar content. Lastly, the oenologist explains, 'we are satisfied with the success of the 2019 vintage, also because it allowed Perlage to further reduce its use of sulphur in the early stages of the winemaking process'."
Powers Winery - Columbia Valley, WA
"Washington's Columbia Valley has seen its fair share of odd weather this year. Winter hit full force in late January and continued into February, setting new snowfall records for the area. Subsequently, spring arrived later than usual, meaning vines had prolonged dormancy and a shorter growing season. While typical summer temperatures are rarely below 100 degrees, this summer the opposite was true. There were only a handful of days where temperatures rose above 95, and fewer still that broke through 100.
Vineyard Manager, Eudoro Lucatero, addressed these weather conditions by doing more crop thinning than in prior years, ensuring quality over quantity at as many vineyard sites as possible. Winemaker, Jose Mendoza, was pleasantly surprised at the fruit that resulted from these odd conditions. The combination of a slightly cooler summer and a lower crop yield meant that fruit hit maturity sooner than expected. As always, weather is the biggest challenge, but preliminary chemistry for fruit from all over the Columbia Valley looks deliciously promising!"