2011 Harvest Update: Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley® Positive Despite Rains

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Dry Creek Valley winegrowers express confidence about the 2011 wine grape harvest, despite rains that affected all of Sonoma County and much of California.

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Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley

We are confident that 2011 will be another great vintage in Dry Creek Valley.

Hit by unexpectedly heavy rains that showered Sonoma County and most of California throughout early October, winegrowers remain positive about the 2011 Dry Creek Valley grape harvest, especially for the region's two signature grape varieties: Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc.

Due to the wet spring and cool summer, Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc yields were light but resulted in optimal fruit. Duff Bevill, a long-time Dry Creek Valley grower and Managing Partner at Bevill Vineyard Management, commented, “We picked 99% of our Sauvignon Blanc before the rains, and quality was outstanding. We had a long, cool growing season like 2010, which resulted in incredible fruit. Some of my buyers told me this year’s Sauvignon Blanc was the best quality fruit they could remember.”

Dubbing the vintage an “A+ for Sauvignon Blanc,” Bevill was also optimistic about Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel, remarking, “At the north end of the valley, we picked all of the Zinfandel before the rain. It’s warmer there than at the southern end, so we saw really good flavor profiles and maturity. At the southern end, we picked a little early for some winemakers’ preference, but I think we timed it just right and let it hang as long as possible. We were right on the line, finishing picking just as it started to drizzle.”

Lambert Bridge winemaker, Jill Davis, was equally positive about her white wines, calling the Viognier “stupendous” and commenting, “The Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah came in ripe and delicious – all before the first rain. As for the Cabernet Sauvignon, we hand-sort down to the berry at Lambert Bridge, so you won’t see any compromise in wine quality. We’re just not expecting much quantity out of this vintage.”

David Cooper, winemaker at Yoakim Bridge Winery, also harvested his Zinfandel a little earlier than average, saying, “Better early than rot.” In addition to Zinfandel, Yoakim Bridge produces wines from Petite Sirah, Cabernet and Merlot. “We’re all hoping for dry weather now to give the Cabernet and Merlot a good dry out. If they can hang for another two weeks, we’ll get a great crop.”

Cameron Mauritson of Mauritson Vineyards farms in both Dry Creek Valley and Rockpile, which overlaps the Dry Creek Valley AVA. His team has thus far held off harvesting Cabernet Sauvignon in both Rockpile and in the benchland areas of Dry Creek Valley, looking to positive weather forecasts over the next two weeks to dry out the grapes and further develop flavors.

“We’re doing great, actually,” Mauritson says, “The majority of our fruit came off before the rain, but some of the later ripening varieties needed a little more time to obtain physiological maturity. We’ll let some of our Rockpile fruit hang a bit longer, because the constant winds that blow through their lower the disease pressure after early rains. We are confident that this will be another great vintage.”

Glenn Proctor, a fourth-generation winegrape grower, grape broker, and current President of the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, shared his assessment of the vintage this way:

“In Dry Creek Valley, the first half of harvest was incredible - really ideal fruit, with fully developed flavors and perfect sugars. 99% of the Sauvignon Blanc came off before the rain, as with most of the Zinfandel. With the later ripening reds, you’re going to see Cab and Merlot that’s much more Bordeaux-like this year. We’re looking at lower alcohols and good acids from the long, cool growing season. We won’t get the same quantities this year, and particularly because it was a light year to begin with. But with another 10 days of good growing weather, we’ll still be bringing in good fruit.”

About Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley
The Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley® (WDCV) is an association of more than 60 wineries and 150 growers, of which most are family-owned and multi-generational, located in Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California. WDCV is dedicated to advancing the recognition, enhancement and preservation of Dry Creek Valley as a premium winegrowing region. Dry Creek Valley is known for its signature varietal Zinfandel and the pristine and unspoiled beauty of the valley. http://www.wdcv.com

Michelle McCue
Fredman McCue Communications
(213) 985-1011 / michelle(at)mccuecommunications(dot)com


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Michelle McCue
Fredman McCue Communications
(213) 985-1011
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