The 2010 Harvest Compared to 1998
(this was written by Tom on August 4, 2010)

Some folks out there are comparing the 1998 harvest to this year.  How can this be?  Well, for starters, there are some similarities with the weather.  However, the similarities may not be that great.  The harvest season of 1998 was unique and really not like what we’ve seen so far in 2010.

During the 1998 season there was a wild heat spell early on in June that caused major damage to the berries, and there was late season rain.  Both occurrences blocked the vine’s ability to ripen fruit.  We have different challenges in 2010.  This year has been one of the coldest and wettest springs we’ve ever had.  The summer has also been cool on a relative scale.  We have had only 5 days above 90F thus far, and typically, we might have 50 plus days of 90F plus heat by this time.  So, the result will be that we’ll be three weeks late……………but, here’s the kicker.  The conditions for Cabernet quality is still perfect!

Cabernet Sauvignon wants early morning fog, and warm days approaching 85-90F, but not hot!  Guess what, that’s what we’ve had!  Yes, we will be three weeks late but the slow maturity of Cabernet Sauvignon on into October should produce stellar wines of solid acid, bright fruit, and big, classically structured tannins!   The lone caveat is that growing grapes under cooler and wetter conditions (more similar to Bordeaux) requires greater attention to solid management practices, including thinning to smaller crops and leafing early for good air flow to avoid mildew and allow for good light penetration.

We all remember the media thrashing the 1998 vintage six months after it was in the barrel saying it was light and thin. Now, of course, critics are suggesting the vintage was a bit special and not so bad.  Come next spring for the 2010, we’ll see.                                                                           Tom