This year’s harvest seemed to have Mother Nature on it’s side for the vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Both the late rains and the heat spikes have the ability to cause detriment to a harvest. Fortunately, this year the timing was just right. According to Peter Bargetto, owner of Soquel Vineyards, the vineyards are completely finished with fruit set. For those not in viticulture this means that the blossoms on the vines are completely formed. If it is too hot or rainy when the blossoms are still setting up, it can knock off the flowers or burn the blossoms. As Peter states he is “happy to be home free”.
What is the prediction of this year’s harvest? Peter says it looks like we are about a week and a half ahead of last year. He anticipates picking his Pinot Noir the third week of September. Many have asked if the drought has affected the vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The short answer is no. Vines are very hearty and don’t require much water. Peter explains that his vineyards are still fairly young at 10 years old. When the vines are growing they need more water. He waters them one time per year after the harvest, “We like to treat them after all their hard work”. At ten years the roots are approximately 4 feet long and each vine will receive 4 gallons of water. Jim Schultz, from Windy Oaks Estate says, “We’re having a drought but the rain we’ve had so far has been perfectly timed and the vineyard has never looked better.” Marguerite Nicholson, of Nicholson Vineyards tells us that they are taking preventative measures during the drought “It looks like another big crop this year. So we are completing an earlier and more intense shoot thinning so as not to overly strain the vines if we run into a water crunch near the end of harvest. We are removing extra shoots that are inferior or crowded.”
Conclusion, we can expect 2014 to be a banner harvest for the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Shannon worked as the Director of Operations for the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrower’s Association for approximately 13 years. Shannon has brought wine events of all kinds to the area in an effort to excite interest in the local wines and food. She loves watching people from all over enjoying the region’s wine and witnessing the local vintners businesses grow and prosper.