Harvest is in full swing, but we’re currently running in place. We got off to a quick start the beginning of September due to warmer-than-average temperatures, with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for Gard , Chateau Ste. Michelle and other clients. The first pick of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are being used in a new sparkling wine project set to be released in a couple years, a slow process. The third week of September provided us with a week of cooler weather, a needed reprieve from rapidly maturing fruit, ultimately helping extend hang time of the fruit. Warmer temps for the next 10 days will bring harvest back at full speed, helping us finish the remaining 75%.
As far as the 2017 vintage, it’s been a very interesting year in every part of the state. A long winter trickled into a wet spring and pushed dormancy out a few weeks beyond average, followed by dry weather for three months. Additionally, we were dealing with smoke from our northerly neighbors and more recently forest fires within 100 miles of the vineyard. We’ve had many inquiries into the possibility of smoke taint in this vintage. It’s difficult for us to fully know the effect, but overall we’re not concerned about it too much. In the past, we’ve had some tough smoke years without any noticeable smoke qualities in the wine, but I do know regions with large local fires have seen perceivable characteristics. I’m optimistic we will not have any issues and if we do every other wine growing region on the West Coast will likely see the same. I’m very positive regarding the quality of this year’s vintage, and I believe we will continue to set new benchmarks in producing premium Royal Slope wines.
– Josh Lawrence