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Napa Valley positive about harvest season

Published:  01 October, 2018

Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) has revealed it is optimistic about the 2018 harvest following a balanced growing season.

Favourable weather had helped to produce a “quality crop of grapes” for the harvest this year, said NVV, which comprises 550 winery members.

The growing season had been marked by a steadiness that had led to great uniformity throughout the vineyards and exceptional fruit quality, said Paul Goldberg, director of operations at Bettinelli Vineyards, and president of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers.

“A very even bloom was followed by a rapid veraison this year and to date our ripening period has been void of extreme heat which will allow for some extended hang time and great phenolic maturity in the fruit,” he said.

The 2018 first picks occurred in mid-August, about a week or so later than 2017. These were primarily for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for sparkling wine.

Other white varieties, and those for still wines, began coming off the vines in late August while the majority of red varieties will ripen and begin to come in during October, with Cabernet Sauvignon just starting to come in.

“The first reds that we’re seeing, the colour, the aromatics, the acidity, it’s all there,” said NVV board member and Favia winemaker Andy Erickson.

“Now that it’s officially fall, that’s when you get some really interesting late-season flavours.”

In May this year, NVV secured Certification Mark protection for the Napa Valley name in the UK – a move it said it had taken as a proactive measure ahead of Brexit, having previously obtained Geographic Indication (GI) Status for Napa Valley as a protected name in the European Union in 2007.