It is barely the last week of July and the first grapes of the 2015 Napa wine harvest have already been picked by Mumm in the region.
Only 12 tonnes of Pinot Noir grapes for sparkling wine were picked by Mumm Napa on 22 July, but that was enough to ensure the 2015 Napa wine harvest goes down as one of the earliest for several years.
Mumm Napa, a subsidiary of French wine and spirits group Pernod Ricard, often takes pride in firing the proverbial starting gun in Napa. Its winemaker, Ludovic Dervin, sabres a bottle of sparkling wine to mark the beginning of the harvest.
‘We sprinkle it on the grapes in the first press load,’ he was quoted as saying on the Napa Valley Vintners trade body website. ‘It celebrates the end of a cycle in the vineyard.’
Although the bulk of the Napa harvest is still believed to be some way off, the 2015 start date for sparkling is the earliest for at least seven years.
The Napa 2014 wine harvest was also early, beginning on 30 July. Grapes for sparkling wines are always the first to be picked.
Many vineyards were still in the latter stages of ripening, as several producers tweeted this week, including Joseph Phelps Vineyards and Duckhorn Vineyards.
The harvest for white grapes, beginning with Sauvignon Blanc, is set to begin more broadly in early August, said Napa Valley Vintners.