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An abnormally wet El Niño spring and late summer caused a poor set for the 1998 vintage crop. During the growing season, clusters also were subjected to uneven ripening and threatened with sunburn, sending growers into the vineyard, performing more hand manipulation of the vines and reducing crops. With a later than usual harvest, growers faced the possibility of rains, but nature cooperated with a warm and sunny early autumn. Picking started in late September, went into full swing in October and reached completion in early November. The clusters, while small and low in weight, produced elegant fruit with definite personality and complexity. The juice to skin ratio was very low, which translates into extracted wines with concentrated fruit flavors.