We are delighted -- and relieved -- to report our harvest is complete. We make our wines in a neo-traditional, terroir-driven style, which means we pick on the early side for the Napa Valley. This happens to keep us out of the line of fire for a lot of late fall risks like frost, rain, and smoke, but our real goal is to make wines at lower alcohols, with tannins and acid structure – wines which let the character of our different fields and the unique idiosyncrasies of the vintage show through to the glass. The Valley came through the '19 vintage without devastating heatwaves or fires, for which we are deeply grateful. It was a long and moderate year which appears to be giving us unusually approachable wines. The photo shows – left to right – CFO Carey Snowden Harrington (duties as assigned), winemaker Diana Snowden Seysses, and wine colleague Maggie Purdue, sorting the 2019 Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon, which came in on Saturday the 5th.
2019 is a promising year -- we’ve had even, moderate temperatures -- which are holding through harvest. Yes, there were some hot days in the summer, but that’s happened every year since we arrived at the ranch in 1955 – days here and there – but unlike the last couple of years, ’19 hasn’t seen any week-long stretches of weirdly hot weather. It varies by block, but most of the fruit is coming in about a week later this year – not a sea change, but more time to mature on the vine without the sugars shooting up. We started with the Sauvignon Blanc on September 9 – that’s the photo. You’ll see a little Botrytis – the “noble rot” – which is not common for that block. We love exploring what the year gives. Then we brought in four boxes of Merlot on the 13th for a rosé – that’s the other photo. The rosé is just for family and friends (including our direct purchasers). The single acre Los Ricos Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard came in on the 24th. It’s going into a small lot, vineyard designated bottling. The Pool Block was also picked on the 24th. It will go into the Ranch Cabernet. We harvested the Cabernet Franc on the 26th. Next up is Brothers Cabernet – the pick starts at 8 PM tonight. Stay tuned.