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Cornerstone Cellars

Craig Camp
 
September 11, 2015 | Craig Camp

Harvest Napa Valley 2015 - I'm Down

"I'm down, I'm really down, How can you laugh..."

It's true across the board in the Napa Valley. We're going to make a lot less wine than we have the last several vintages as the crop yield in Napa is down, really down. From what we've seen so far we will be down thirty to forty percent this year and more in some vineyards. That means a drop from 5,000 cases to around 3,500. Ouch! For example last year's 500 cases of Corallina Syrah Rosé will be around 250 cases in 2015.

On Friday we picked three vineyards:

Oakville Station Merlot, Oakville AVA
Hazen Merlot, Yountville AVA
Pokai Cabernet Franc, Calistoga AVA

While there may not much fruit, we got less than five tons from each, what there was tasted wonderful with deep, sweet flavors and bright acidity. Very, very, promising.

Just a word on this week's heat spell, while we could have done without it, September heat spikes are quite normal in the Napa Valley. It did put stress on the vines, but at this point they are focusing the little energy they have left to ripen their seeds, not making more sugar. With this upcoming cooler weather and some judicious irrigation the remaining fruit (which is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon) will be refreshed and brix levels should drop slightly. As we are always intensely concerned about our levels of acidity you can bet we will be picking as soon as possible as extended hang times are not our style.

As I write this I'm on a flight up to Oregon to pick our chardonnay and pinot noir. Our next pick in Napa is scheduled for next Wednesday when Oakville Station Cabernet Franc will come in. After that pick is done we'll be out sampling our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards and setting the dates when they'll be harvested. It really seems that we'll be done in both states by the end of September.

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