Sonoma County’s 2014 harvest season got off to an early start on Wednesday, July 30 at 10:15 p.m. with approximately eight tons of pinot meunier grapes hand-harvested from J Vineyards & Winery’s “Nicole’s Vineyard,” a CSWA certified sustainable vineyard located on Eastside Road in the Russian River Valley.
“Given our strong commitment towards sustainable farming, it’s very fitting that the first grapes to be picked in Sonoma County this year are from vineyards certified sustainable through the Code of Sustainable Winegrowing,” sais Karissa Kruse, president of the Sonoma County Winegrowers.
“Harvest is an exciting time in Sonoma County and after a nail-biting year of dealing with the drought, we are thrilled that the grape quality is excellent,” she said.
This year’s start to harvest is one of the earliest on record, but the moderate temperature this past month, with morning fog and afternoon sun, have helped the grapes mature and ripen at an optimal pace. Most winegrowers predict that harvest for still wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon, will start approximately 1-2 weeks earlier than average, around mid-to late August and end sometime in October.
Despite the drought conditions, winegrowers and winemakers are excited by the quality of fruit on vines so far and believe it will be another excellent vintage throughout Sonoma County, Kruse said.