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2022 Harvest in Review

2022 was anoth­er extreme­ly dry year. The warm and dry win­ter made for an ear­li­er start to the grow­ing sea­son com­pared to 2021. The spring was dry, mild, and very windy. The sum­mer was also mild through August, but the begin­ning of Sep­tem­ber brought an extreme, long heat event, putting har­vest into full swing quick­er than expect­ed. The whites, some of the rosé, and some young Syrah fruit were picked dur­ing a hec­tic, almost unbear­ably hot week.

The com­bi­na­tion of the very dry win­ter and windy spring set the stage for a small­er than nor­mal yield, with the shoots and clus­ters being small­er than aver­age and the wind caus­ing dam­age to the flow­ers, cre­at­ing poor fruit set. The heat event, along with the usu­al threats of pest, bee, and bird dam­age, made the crop even smaller.

White Grapes Blog
2022 left us with precious few white grapes, but they have amazing potential.

The heat event in Sep­tem­ber real­ly shaped the har­vest. The vines hang­ing the remain­ing fruit shut down for the rest of Sep­tem­ber, and we saw lit­tle devel­op­ment in ripen­ing and fla­vor. After a peri­od of recov­ery and milder tem­per­a­tures, we saw the vines start­ing to work again on ripen­ing the crop. With the low yields and a few mild heat events, the remain­ing fruit ripened ful­ly and was crushed through­out Octo­ber, luck­i­ly dodg­ing some rain events which could have fur­ther impact­ed the crop. The har­vest end­ed in the first week of November.

One thing was clear from the first box­es of fruit to arrive on the crush pad: yields were going to be low for 2022. While the fruit that came in looked gor­geous and had achieved per­fect ripeness, there was sim­ply much less of it. Chardon­nay and Viog­nier blocks returned half as many box­es as we’d seen in the abun­dance of the 2021 vin­tage. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, this trend con­tin­ued through­out har­vest and across both of our vine­yards. We end­ed up with low­er pro­duc­tion in 2022 than we’ve had in years.

These low yields are dis­ap­point­ing for us, but we’re hap­py to report that the qual­i­ty of the remain­ing fruit was excep­tion­al. As the result­ing wines have end­ed fer­men­ta­tion, we’ve been blown away by the fla­vors that came out right after pressing.

Heat dam­age, pests, and some pest-borne prob­lems with rot all con­tributed to this low-yield­ing vin­tage. Much fruit was dropped by our vine­yard crew. When we crushed our final box­es of Grenache in Novem­ber, we had to care­ful­ly sort through it to make sure there was no rot in the bunch­es, which saw even more fruit cast aside. 

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As the result­ing wines have end­ed fer­men­ta­tion, we were blown away by the puri­ty of the fer­ment­ed juice that comes out right after press­ing. The roller-coast­er weath­er of the very dry grow­ing sea­son has led to wines of pro­nounced rich­ness and ele­gance. The Viog­nier was unusu­al­ly creamy and for­ward, and we have been astound­ed by the vel­vety tex­ture and con­cen­tra­tion of fruit to come from our Caber­net Sauvi­gnon. This will be a clas­sic Syrah vin­tage for us, and we are going to have a lot of dif­fi­cult deci­sions to make with how to blend the final wines as the qual­i­ty is so high, but the quan­ti­ty is lacking. 

Qual­i­ty is high but vol­ume is low. This was our small­est vin­tage since 2015 but our hope is the wines turn out to be as excel­lent as the 2015 vintage!

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Cabernet vines almost ready to pick on our Estate Vineyard.

Nature has a way of bal­anc­ing things. 2021 was our high­est-yield­ing vin­tage ever. Thanks to that boun­ty, we will be able to dis­trib­ute wines more freely than ever before. We will have enough wine to bring 2021 Cuvee le Bec to new mar­kets and shops across the coun­try, allow­ing us to share our wines with new com­mu­ni­ties. In 2022, the door swung the oth­er way, and we are going to have to spread what wine we have fur­ther than ever before. We’d rec­om­mend stock­ing up on some extra of your favorite wines from the 2021 vin­tage and order­ing ear­ly when 2022 wines are released. They will sell out quickly. 

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