As fall sets in and the vines begin to turn, the 2013 vintage will be one to remember in California. The earliest crush season that I have experienced, this year the vines were eager to share their bounty. Steady warm temperatures this summer allowed early maturation and limited bird and pest damage. Clusters came in sweet, full and healthy. With the lack of rain throughout the last few months, mold was rarely seen. Everything from Pinot Noir to Petit Verdot came in ripe and clean. With the early ripening came higher sugar levels in many varietals. Although brix readings were quite high on Zinfandel and Syrah, raisins were minimal due to the lack of heat spikes throughout the growing season.
Great fruit set and stellar weather resulted in higher yields than previous years. Barrel shortages and scrounging for tank space was common with fellow wineries. This however is an issue that any winemaker is happy to deal with. Excited to see how 2013 finishes out.