Oogstbericht 2006: Napa

De Napa Valley Grapegrowers vereniging is 18 augustus bij elkaar gekomen om de oogst van 2006 te bespreken.

De algemene mening: veel regen in de late lente, maar door de hitte in juli toch een ‘promising’ 2006. Wat zou dat promising betekenen?

The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) popped the cork on their predictions for this year’s harvest at an August 18 gathering at Hudson Vineyards in Napa Valley.

The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) popped the cork on their predictions for this year’s harvest at an August 18 gathering at Hudson Vineyards in Napa Valley. Most grapegrowers agreed that despite the heavy rains in late spring and the heat spell in July that the harvest for 2006 looks promising.

Many grapegrowers experienced an early bud break, "the earliest bud-break ever recorded," according to Lee Hudson, owner of Hudson Vineyards. Hudson also said that bloom was perfect with moderate fruitfulness and a good set. Hudson expects a healthy, moderate crop, though harvest dates looks to be about eight to 10 days behind normal.

Jim Verhey, director of Silverado Winegrowers, agreed and said that their crop was about seven days behind. "The 2005 crop did not impact the crop this year as much as we thought it would," Verhey said. Verhey also said that while the Chardonnay crop looks under average this year, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc are average, while Merlot looks to be above average.

Mary Hall, vineyard manager at Harlan Estate and Napa Valley Reserve, and Ron Wicker, owner of Ron Wicker Vineyard Management, expect lighter crops for Cabernet Sauvignon this harvest. According to Wicker, the lighter crop will be higher quality. In addition to Hall and Wicker, David Beckstoffer, treasurer of Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Eric Titus, owner of Titus Vineyards, and Randy Snowden, president of Napa Valley Grapegrowers, reported vines with smaller clusters and berry size. "The small clusters and smaller berries will result in a high-quality crop this year," Wicker said.

Owner of Michael Wolf Vineyards, Mike Wolf, mentioned that veraison happened very quickly and all at once this year, hopefully resulting in uniform ripeness at harvest. This also means that grapegrowers aren’t going to have to do much thinning this year. "Last year at this time the ground was littered with green grapes, but this year there is very little of that," he said.

Will Nord of Trio B Vineyards in Napa said that the July heat spell actually left very few vines damaged. Due to the heavy rains this year, the soil profiles were at 100%, allowing the vines to be nourished through the midsummer heat spell. The high humidity during the heat spell also helped.

Thus far, grapegrowers reported to have little to no pest or mildew problems this year. According to Nord, Trio B Vineyards hasn’t had to do a single insecticide spray. Similarly, Sam Turner, owner of Vista Vine Vineyard Management, said that the insect and disease problem is the lowest he has ever seen. Hudson also said that the high rain fall probably had something to do with the low pest count.

Napa grapegrowers are looking forward to a successful and relatively short harvest this year, mostly in October. "The vineyards look phenomenal considering what we’ve been through," Wicker said. He believes that the smaller berry size will result in more concentrated wines, setting up the potential for exceptional quality. He also believes that the harvest may get smaller as the time draws near. Nord concluded by saying that from veraison to harvest, it’s now up to the weather and the Gods.

Bron: Winebusiness.com

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