NAPA VALLEY Vintage Report 2010
In the cellar, winemakers delighted, undeterred by challenges of Mother Nature
In some years winegrowers must feel like baseball players in the batting cage swinging at whatever Mother Nature throws their way, and for vintage 2010 in California's renowned Napa Valley this was the case. Rainfall returned after three dry years, pushed bud break, flowering and fruit-set back by at least two weeks at the front end of the growing season, and due to the cloud cover, there was no frost damage in 2010. The summer brought cooler than normal temperatures, where constant vigilance and rigorous canopy management averted mildew or pest problems.
The ten-day to two-week lag continued into a later than average veraison. Winegrowers were faced with a two-day heat spike into triple digits for the first time in the season, coinciding with the first day of harvest on August 24. With canopies thinned to adjust for the cooler season, grapes at various sites experienced some sunburn. The damage was variable site-to-site with many vineyards reporting no sunburned clusters at all.
The relatively cool growing season coupled with the unexpected heat spikes in late summer resulted in a late and shortened harvest with lower yields. Vintners were excited about what they were tasting from the vineyards--concentrated flavors that will materialize into elegant, structured wines, almost European in style.
Cooler than average temperatures retuned again in early September, but gave way to a welcome, warm and consistent Indian Summer that was just the ticket, bringing good flavor and color development across the board.
In the midst of the 2010 growing season, and led by the hard work of Napa County Agriculture Commissioner Dave Whitmer, the potentially crop devastating pest known as the European Grapevine Moth or Lobesia looks to be successfully eradicated in Napa County. Industry winegrowers led by the Napa Valley Vintners, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and the Napa County Farm Bureau along with residential grapes growers, community leaders and environmental groups joined forces in a highly organized and well-orchestrated effort that employed organic compounds, fruit disposal and mating disruption. This effort hit it out of the park and speaks volumes about the collaborative efforts, innovation and leadership of the Napa Valley wine industry.