The 2020 Harvest - Let It Go!
To Quote the Movie Frozen,"Let It Go"!
2020 came on with so much promise! So much hope! This was going to be everyone’s best year! What the hell happened?
The minute the ball dropped in Times Square COVID-19 was gearing itself up to change everything. Who would have thought such a pandemic could happen, except those who have been warning us for years and the ones trying to scare us in Hollywood.
Well, here we are in September, and I can honestly tell you, I never thought I would go through as much sanitizer as I have and started wearing masks to color coordinate with what I am wearing. Then, of course, we have so many other social and political things going on, it’s enough to spin your head around. But that’s not for discussion here.
Rockpile Vineyard, our flagship - photo by our tasting room manager, Peter
What is for discussion is smoke taint! As Elton John stated so well: “And all the science, I don’t understand, its just my job five days a week.”
While other wineries and producers have had much better luck with either vineyards' location and/or harvest timing - this year, we are not so fortunate. Here's why:
I know how it happens and I know what the final wine smells and tastes like, and I am here to promise you, that for the 2020 vintage we will not bring in any grapes that we feel might be tainted.
Each of our vineyards' grapes has been sampled and sent to the lab to be tested for smoke taint, but the problem is the month-long backlog. So small amounts of the fruit have been picked and at the winery we are doing micro-fermentations to see if there are any traces of smoke taint by smell and taste.
At this point, I can tell a good percentage are indeed showing the effects of these wildfires. It has been a very stressful time making decisions that not only affect the winery, but the growers as well. I feel so small, worrying about smoke taint in wine, while so many acres of land and properties have burned and so much destroyed. So many people’s lives have been forever changed.
Trusting My Gut
As I drive through Napa and Sonoma and watch the full bins of fruit drive by in loaded trucks, you begin to second guess yourself, but I know where my vineyards are located, and I know where those fires were. I have sat in vineyards with smoke all around and ash dropping on me, and then come home smelling like a fire pit.
I trust my gut instinct more than anything else and I know I am doing the right thing for our growers, winery, and most importantly our consumers who expect us to make only the best wines possible.
For many, 2020 has produced beautiful fruit that will become delicious wine. The 2020 harvest breaks my heart, but let it go and enjoy our amazing 2016s and soon, the 2017s.