News & Press

News & Press

July 25th, 2021

2021 Growing Season Interview

2021 Growing Season Interview

Our Senior Vineyard Manager, Domenick Bianco, recently took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions about the 2021 growing season, to date.

Question: When we last checked in, the vineyard team was already implementing measures for a dry growing season. How are things unfolding as we approach veraison and what will likely be an early harvest?
Domenick Bianco: As we begin veraison, drought conditions persist but we are in great shape for a spectacular vintage. All the early work the vineyard team has done is paying off. Our vines look healthy and well managed, and the crop looks spectacular.

Q: Any new learnings or techniques in the vineyard since we last talked?
DB: As always, taking a proactive approach to solving problems is the correct approach. Had we waited for more rain, or had we failed to implement some of the work we did this year, we would be dealing with a much different outcome. As I said before the Vineyard team has done a remarkable job this season.

Q: When do you expect veraison, or are you seeing some select color already?
DB: As of July 22nd, we are starting to see color in most of our vineyard ranches. The furthest along is the Malbec in our Backus Vineyard.

Q: How is 2021 shaping up overall in the vineyards? Does it remind you of other recent low moisture vintages, like 2015?
DB: 2021 reminds me a lot of 2015 - except with the amount of wind we are experiencing. I don't remember the valley ever being so windy all summer. The crop on the Napa Valley side is looking lower than average. Smaller berries, not as many clusters. The crop on the Sonoma Coast side looks healthy, maybe average or a little bit above average.

Q: How are the new blocks doing in Rutherford?
DB: The new blocks in Rutherford are in their first crop year, and wow, did they put out a HUGE crop! We've had to implement some crop thinning to keep them from over producing but it's safe to say they are more than ready to show off.

Q: Any first day of harvest predictions?
DB: We've got a few wagers going internally. I had money on the 15th of August but then learned it was a Sunday. We don't pick on Sundays, so I guess I already lost that bet.

Q: How are the teams preparing for crush?
DB: We are well into the planning stages on all fronts. Each area of production is assigning roles to their team members, getting equipment serviced and cleaned, etc. For many, this will be their 20th+ harvest, so its old hat to them.

Thank you Domenick. We eagerly await the upcoming 2021 harvest!