2019 Vintage in the Napa Valley: The Season Begins
We can say “so far so good” regarding the 2019 vintage. We have plenty of moisture in the ground thanks to late season rains. A big storm during the last week brought Diamond Mountain Creek to overflowing its banks briefly one evening, without causing any damage. Here at Dyer Vineyard, one of the handful of Diamond Mountain wineries, we are just over 50” rainfall for the season.
Budbreak was in mid April, a couple of weeks later than recent vintages, but temperatures in the high 80’s the last week in April caused rapid growth, making up somewhat for the late start. We have had no frost so far, and it is rare to get any this late in the season. Most of the shoots have two clusters, hopefully indicating a normal crop size, but we have to remember that these are “chickens not eggs” and until they bloom and set fruit, we won’t know how many berries will be on each cluster.
We expect the Cabernet Franc to bloom first, followed by the Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, then the Petit Verdot. While they are in bloom we hope for mild, dry days, as rainfall can interfere with pollination and cool weather can result a prolonged fruit set leading to uneven ripening in the fall. (Update: a series of late season storms may drop a couple of inches in Napa Valley, perhaps more on Diamond Mountain wineries. But the grapes are not in bloom yet, so hopefully we will dodge the bullet)!