As we begin October today, harvest is in full swing or wrapping up across the Northern Hemisphere. For all of our members working harvest around the globe, we’d love to hear from you on how it’s going! How’s the 2018 vintage looking in your region?
Sonoma is looking epic—so far. It has been a cooler-than-average year with absolutely no heat spikes and most vineyards are about two weeks behind last year. Solid but not large crop size and very even ripening.
Pinot Noir clusters look perfect and you could use almost any bunch for a photograph. The one potential issue I have seen is a higher-than-normal risk of powdery mildew. I'm not saying this is widespread, and there is a lot that can be done in the vineyard to prevent it, but in some cases you have to be more vigilant this year.
Later ripening grapes are still TBD. We had a decent amount of rain today, but it looks like it's clearing up. If the warmish weather holds long enough, and you can avoid any potential mold and future heavy rain, it is still potentially outstanding. At least for Pinot Noir, I would say, this has the potential to be a 10 out of 10 vintage.
As far as I've heard, people in Napa are very excited about the quality of the vintage. Long, slow, and relatively cool - the conditions of 2018 have led to ideal ripening. The only hiccup might be the recent rains. Will see if this leads to any issues. Stay tuned.
I’m in Bordeaux as we speak and it has been a great vintage! Both red and white. There were some issues with hail so yields are down in some areas, but most of the summer was hot and dry. Other parts of France, namely Champagne from what I’ve heard, have also fared well.
There is virtually no botrytis, however, but some growers have started picking already in sweet wine appellations. There is potential rain this weekend and they’re hoping it kick starts some more botrytis in the area, but it’s mostly passerillage at this point. Producers are already comparing it to 2003 in terms of the heat and dryness.
Burgundy '18 is looking to be a classically great vintage. Comparisons being made to 1976, 1978, 1985, 1990. Bigger than the standard vintage due to global warming but the quality of the juice is there. At PYCM we had to buy extra tanks to contain all the juice we were getting. No real problems to report in either Cote d'Beaune or Cote Nuits.
Just curious - you mention that producers are comparing 2018 vintage to 2003, but still call it a great vintage. From what I remember, 2003 was the hottest year on record all over the world, resulting in (generally) unbalanced wines in many regions...
Bordeaux producers say every vintage is a great vintage
I’m speaking in terms of dessert wines for 2003. I don’t care much at all, with few exceptions, for dry wines in 2003. We’ve tasted quite a bit on this trip and they are delicious, but wildly different in terms of who had botrytis because it was an extremely dry year. Bordeaux received the equivalent of its average annual rainfall before July this year, and has only received 20mm of rain since then. As of now, they expect more passerillage in 2018, very similar to 2003. That can change depending on how wet/humid October is.
Great topic! Here is Washington state things are looking quite tidy and delicious. The spring started off fast and the first half of summer was quite warm, but then the weather cooled off and has been fairly consistent since. This has allowed for an opportunity to hang longer than expected and vintage is only about halfway in as a whole, quite a bit later than the last few years. I also believe that people have adjusted well in managing the initial heat with smart canopy management, which helped a lot with whites especially in the last couple of warm springs.
I was also in Austria recently and they started harvest around August 25th! The earliest on record and about a week earlier than 2017. The fruit was super healthy other than issues with sunburn resulting from thinned canopies to counter a few heavy rain events. It's definitely a bit unnerving though for the producers to see it happening earlier and earlier.
This is a fantastic thread. If possible can Guildsomm make this an annual post/disscussion? Jancis Robinson has a great report on vintages too.
Even with the cool steady end to the season in Washington, I've seen a ton of variability in picks. Some folks I'm talking to are nearly all in, others are just gearing up. I think this year has created even more freedom for producers to show off their house style through their picks.
Wondering when people are going to start talking to one another about smoke issues. Hearing nary a word, but know there are folks with smoke taint in their cellar (2018 to a much less degree than 2017). Went and tasted with a producer this week that is looking into it, and he's saying that everyone is shying away from the topic. From a marketing standpoint, I get it, but I also wonder how many people either don't know or don't want to know...That said, Walla Walla seems all clear. Lake Chelan seems the worst hit by smoke (as usual), and to varying degrees throughout the central parts of the state .
There's a summary of the harvest in Tuscany over on Decanter.
Definitely can back this up. I spent two weeks in Bordeaux back in the beginning of September. Sauvignon Blanc was already being harvested by the 5th in Barsac/Graves area. Semillon followed the week after. Talking to the laborers and the chateaux I visited the consensus was a solid year throughout. The dry weather came to an end with a few days of steady rain, but most growers were looking forward to it due to the berries starting to get a little too much sun exposure.
Thanks to the weather, most growers were saying that mildew has been less of an issue this year thankfully. There was some hail at the beginning of the season, but nothing like last year where it really hurt everyone.
Alsace is having quite the abundant year. Full flavored fat berries in some instances. The winery I worked harvest with, expect a great year of incredible wines. It did come about 3 weeks earlier than expected though.
I picked my Syrah and Viognier in the Rocks District of Milton Freewater on September 12th, the exact same date that we picked last year but the brix were definitely higher this year. Last year, I was the first at my spot by 2 weeks. This year I was middle of the pack. 2017 Alcohol was 13.5, this year is looking like 14.5 but the TA and PH is better...go figure. Barreled down everything but a tank of carbonic today.
Picked young vine (5th leaf) Dundee Hills Chardonnay the day before. (September 11th) Earlier than planned but good numbers. People are saying this is a great year in the Willamette Valley. Have heard a number of people say they've never seen such great flavor and acid balance.
England is having one of it best ever harvests with high quality and high volume, with many reporting 3x the volume of last year. In fact people are slightly worried that demand won't reach supply and grape prices will fall considerably in value. But people are generally happy, and the guys like Gusbourne will make some truely epic sparkling.