Napa Valley Grapegrowers held their annual harvest press conference this week. Press conference highlights:
- Harvest is running two-three weeks earlier than last year
- Yield ranges from average to average-plus. With increased demand for Napa Valley grapes, this year’s harvest may not mitigate the grape shortage, as many vineyards have waitlists of winemakers wanting grapes.
- Rain totals to date: 26 inches, which enabled controlled growth and allowed for open canopies so that grapes receive even exposure to sun
- Relatively dry, warm days with cooler nights – ideal growing conditions for winegrapes
- $365,000 raised over the past three years to support NVG’s Farmworker Foundation, which provided education and training for vineyard workers and their next generations. NVG leading expanded efforts to integrate the vineyard workforce into the community.
- Increased use of vineyard technology in order to farm vineyards in small sections by collecting real time data about moisture and heat; all hot-linked to smart phones to allow immediate micromanaging for quality. This enables a 500 acre vineyard to be farmed in one acre sections rather than in one 500 acre plot, thereby increasing decision-making and resulting grape quality.
- Renewed optimism for investing in Napa Valley - substantially increased demand for Napa Valley vineyards, particularly from Asia, followed by Europe, for small vineyards - $5-$10 million transactions – without production facilities.
- Extensive replanting, including new varieties and rootstock, is reflected by vine orders that are up dramatically (quadrupling in five years) with payoff expected in three-five years underscoring renewed optimism.
- The rebirth of Napa Valley that started in the 1960s and 70s is now maturing; first generation vineyard owners are giving way to the second generation and they are changing the way the vineyard business gets done.
Press conference speakers included:
Jon Ruel - Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) President; COO, Trefethen Family Vineyards
Amy Warnock - NVG Member; Viticulturalist, Stagecoach Vineyard
John Conover - NVG Board of Directors; General Manager, PlumpJack, CADE and Odette
John Wilkinson - NVG Marketing & Communications Committee Chair; Owner, Wilkinson Family Vineyards; Owner, Bin to Bottle
Jennifer Kopp Putnam, Executive Director, Napa Valley Grapegrowers