On Monday, August 24th we picked our first grapes of the 2009 harvest. The late winter rains and the cool growing season had delayed the start of harvest seven to ten days versus the prior year. So, with the fourth week of August a foot, we began picking Sauvignon Blanc and by Friday the 28th ended with it as well.
There are ten acres of Sauvignon Blanc planted on Larkmead’s estate. Ten acres falls in third place behind Cabernet (67 acres) and Merlot (22 acres); however, the vines are more vigorous and hold a greater tons per acre ratio than its sister varieties on the property. So, with the total production of the vineyard catering 66% to Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc tends to fall into second place, producing about 20% of the vineyard’s output. However, Larkmead doesn’t produce wine from all its Sauvignon Blanc. Being a grower and a vintner, we sell the majority of our Sauvignon Blanc grapes to other wineries, such as Duckhorn and Spottswoode.
It is too early to stake a foot in the soil and claim that this will be a spectacular vintage for Napa Valley wines, but based on the development of the Sauvignon Blanc - the rich, deep, nuanced flavors and the healthy fermentations that we are managing at the moment, I am going to have to say, we are in for a very good year of wine growing.
Stayed tuned as we’ll be picking our century old Tocai vines in the next seven to ten days (the week of September 14). And from there, the red wine grapes (starting with Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet) are not far behind….
Dan Petroski, Assistant Winemaker