Update on Napa's Harvest Season 2013
With harvest season coming to a close, activity is transitioning from vineyard to winery. The season has gone off without a hitch and has been one of the fastest and most abundant seasons in a long time.
A Look at the 2013 Harvest Season
The past couple of months have gone something like this: grapes were fermented whole and had their juice transferred from tanks to barrels. Harvesters were harvesting so many grapes, they had to continue the juggling act throughout the season. One of the dilemmas that harvesters experienced was finding enough space to accommodate the abundant harvest season.
The 2013 harvest season has been a good one thanks to ideal temperatures, abundant sunshine and cool breezes, as well as little rain to compromise the thin-skinned varieties of grapes. In fact, some weeks the themes being celebrated were “perfect harvest,” “early harvest” and “more tank space.” White grapes are always picked sooner, so the hot temperatures allowed these grapes to continue growing and maturing.
Why Red Grapes are Picked Last
The sugar levels need to rise in the red grapes, which is why these are picked last. Thankfully, the warm weather has stuck around, and the cool nights allowed the red varieties to maintain their acidity through ripening. Harvesters look for deep, dark red colors that are not over ripened. This can be difficult to achieve, since it’s really up to the weather. Fortunately, the weather has been idealistic this year.
By the end of September, most of the white varieties of grapes had already been collected, while harvesters waited on some of the red varieties. The end of the month also brought about the full harvest moon, which created the perfect end to a fruitful harvest season. Even last week’s massive rains didn’t stop the thin-skinned varieties from reaching their potential; the warm sun dried the rain and the cool breezes removed moisture from the grapes.
A Peaceful Mood in Wine Country
The mood in Napa Valley has been peaceful and quiet since harvesters enjoyed a great season and everything is quietly coming to a close in the first weeks of October. The autumn sun is still warm, and harvesters expect to pick their final clusters from the hillside this week. The smell of dried vines and fermentation is in the air, something that every harvester longs for. The hard work and dedication that goes into maintaining vineyards have been made worth it this year.