We believe that this is going to be a very good harvest and it’s great to get it started.
Sonoma County, Calif. (Vocus) August 1, 2008 –
The California North Bay premium winegrape harvest began this morning at 4:00 a.m. in grower Chris Bowen’s Hunter Farms in the Sonoma Valley. The first grapes harvested were Pinot Noir that will be used for sparkling wines at Gloria Ferrer Winery in the Carneros region of Sonoma County.
The beginning of the harvest caught many growers by surprise. Duff Bevill of Bevill Vineyard Management Company believes that the harvest will begin in the Dry Creek Valley region of Sonoma County in two weeks. This was also expressed by growers in many of the 13 growing regions in Sonoma County.
Bowen believes that the harvest is so early this year because of the location of his vineyard, the weather during this growing season and the lack of rain in the spring. “We picked last year on August 4 and we are usually the first to harvest in the North Bay,” says Hunter. “This area is a bit warmer than most areas that grow Pinot Noir, but our grapes are perfect for sparkling wine because of the high acid level we have that is good for this style of wine.”
Originally from southern California, Bowen started growing winegrapes in Sonoma County in 1978. He currently grows 42 acres primarily of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
From the first look of his Pinot Noir grapes, Bowen believes it will be a normal crop size and it’s too early to comment on the quality. He stated that it also looks good for all of his other varieties of winegrapes.
The 2008 vintage in Sonoma County started with the longest period of frost in recent history in April. This was followed by very little rain in the spring and a couple of heat spikes in summer. Otherwise, it has been a relatively a cool growing season.
“We are excited to hear that the harvest has began,” says Steve Sangiacomo of Sangiacomo Vineyards and vice chairman of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission. “We believe that this is going to be a very good harvest and it’s great to get it started.”
The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission was established in 2006 as a non-profit marketing and educational organization dedicated to the promotion of Sonoma County as one of the world’s premier grape growing regions. With more than 1,800 growers, SCWC’s goal is to increase awareness and recognition of the quality and diversity of Sonoma County’s grapes and wines through dynamic marketing and educational programs targeted to wine consumers around the world. For more information about SCWC and its programs, visit http://www.sonomawinegrape.org.
Editor’s Note: Photos available at http://www.sonomawinegrape.org/08-harvest-photos
Contact Larry Levine, 707-953-9353, larry.levine(at)sonomawinegrape.org