California 2013 vintage set to equal heights of 2012

  • Thursday 31 October 2013

California is heading for another strong vintage in 2013, according to producers, but some are concerned about tank capacity as the harvest draws to a close.

Napa Harvest

California’s 4m-tonne grape crush from the 2012 harvest is set to be repeated this year, said Nat DiBuduo, president and chief executive of state-wide trade body Allied Grape Growers.

Strong yields are reported across the state with the exception of the Central Coast, which is likely to be down by 10% to 15% on last year, he said.

With producers in many areas also upbeat on quality, the 2013 harvest should help to further ease the pain of a difficult 2011 and could mean more Californian wines in export markets.

There are, however, concerns about whether all growers and wineries can cope with the influx of supply. ‘It's good to a point that we will have a supply to feed the US market and exports,’ DiBuduo told decanter.com.

He added, ‘Everyone is encouraging growers to plant more grapes so we can meet this supply, but there is a need for more tank capacity. Wineries big and small are going to have to invest in greater tank capacity.’

For now, many growers and estates are focusing on the harvest. ‘The vintage holds exceptional promise and exceeded expectations on the heels of 2012,’ Napa Valley Vintners said.

This year marked one of the earliest harvests in recent years, with the first white grapes picked in Napa Valley on 1 August.

‘It's been a condensed harvest season with so many varietals — whites and reds — all coming in at the same time,’ said Brad Petersen,‎ vineyard manager for Silver Oaks and chairman of the Sonoma County Winegrowers. ‘Fruit quality and flavours are excellent.’

In the Central Coast, winemakers expect that lower yields versus 2012 will produce darker, more concentrated wines. ‘The fruit is intense in both flavour and colour, with balanced acids,’ said Cindy Steinbeck, winemaker for Steinbeck Vineyards & Winery, in Paso Robles.

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