Harvest Crush: a big Rush after a Long Wait
Harvest in the wine country is a long drawn out affair, beginning in August in the eastern vineyards of Napa, and with the grapes going to sparkling wine. The long harvest season closes with the old vine zinfandels in my part of the Russian River Valley in October. If your grapes are in a cool spot like mine are, that could even mean a Halloween harvest, with prayers that the rains wait till the sugars get up there.
This year harvest got started late due to an exceptionally cool summer. Tomatoes are barely ripening, let alone wine grapes. Then the frigid days were interrupted by two days of SEVERE heat, which saw the temperatures rise from 48 degrees to 108 degrees in only a few hours. This left grapes, trees and many plants in shock and with sunburn. Some growers told me they have lost as much as 30% of their crop to sunburn–let’s hope those earlly estimates were pessimistic and not accurate.
After the mini-heatwave, we immediately returned to ten days or so of cool weather, and only now are we experiencing consistent lovely warm (but not too warm) days with our typical cool evenings. The scent of autumn, and the crush, are definitely in the air. I love this time of year!