USA (California) – California Wines, an association of over 1,000 Californian wine estates and wine business companies, called the 2015 wine harvest “low and promising”. A warm springtime, which started earlier than usual, was in the end followed by one of the earliest harvests of this century. But as the weather conditions during the blooming period were unfavorable in diverse sub-regions, it became clear early that low yields were inevitable.
After three years of ongoing drought and some rather lavish years (2012 to 2014), this year the berries did not develop to reach their full size – a phenomenon which could actually be observed in all grape varieties, but most obviously in pinot noir and chardonnay. It was as well for this reason that the yields were below the average of the past decade: along Sonoma Coast, for instance, and in Santa Barbara, further in the south, the yield amounted to 0.8 tons per hectare. In wine regions situated further inland, the pinot noir yields are almost unchanged – the cabernet sauvignon yield in Napa Valley, in contrast, was diminished in quantity, too.
As the smaller grapes ripen uniformly and faster, the beginning of the harvest was everywhere characterized by a frenzy of activity. Pinot noir and chardonnay grapes were harvested first – as early as at the beginning of August – followed by cabernet sauvignon grapes, which were also harvested unusually early. For all the vintners focusing on ripe tannins and a dark color, the heat peaks in September were a surprise because they made the grapes reach their physiological ripeness extremely fast, thus, contributing to a lower yield, too.
In this very early stage of grape development, the quality is “promising”, as California Wines states, the reasons for this being lower yields and an extraordinary concentration. So, as early as now the 2015 vintage is compared to the extremely successful 2013 vintage, but only in quality, not in quantity. Besides a perfect ripeness of the grapes and an extraordinary quality of the grape juice – unfortunately accompanied by a yield loss of up to 35 percent – the vintners from all wine regions in California unanimously confirm the 2015 vintage to be excellent. And as is known, low yields from the best vintages make the demand decrease – but the price as well. (red.yoopress)