Paso Robles Cabernet Harvest on Track
Creston, CA - The 2014 wine grape harvest in the Paso Robles appellation appears to be right on track for a normal seasonal pick, despite this year's warm temperatures, dry conditions and predictions for earlier start dates in other regions. The home estate blocks at luxury Cabernet Sauvignon producer Chateau Margene in the Creston district are in the early stage of veraison and will ripen gently for an anticipated pick date of Oct. 1.
CM owner/winegrower Michael Mooney is very happy with progress so far, while keeping a watchful eye on the continuing effects of the drought. He comments that "the 2014 season is progressing nicely with a fairly normal canopy and crop load. Here in Paso Robles, we survived winter with no frost damage and some helping March rains, though total precipitation was very light."
Mooney is a seventh generation Californian and has seen extended droughts before: "Dry conditions are affecting everyone here in California. Winegrapes' drought tolerance is well documented. But with three years in a row of less than normal rainfall, a big issue is a build-up of salinity in the soil which can impede the vines' ability to uptake valuable nutrients. We are hopeful that a predicted "El Nino effect" in late fall and early next winter will break the cycle of drought. Happily, our vineyards are well established and are less water sensitive than some. Conditions can change quickly - I still well remember the heavy rains of 1998 that flooded our lower Cabernet Sauvignon block."
"We continue our practice of 'deficit irrigation;' where we conscientiously conserve our precious water resources at every step. Our vines have never received an over-abundance of water and won't again this year. The canopy on our estate blocks is the best we have seen since 2005, averaging 3' to 4' in length. Leaf pulling took place in early July and our color drop and de-clumping will take place when verasion is eighty to ninety percent complete. In our own estate vineyard and in my visits to four other winegrowing properties here in Paso, vine and grape development are slightly ahead of normal, approximately 7 to 10 days early."
Mooney concludes that: "The 2012 and 2013 vintages here were both excellent grape growing years with some really exceptional wines now being bottled or still aging nicely in barrels. The reviewers' scores and public reception reflect that. The 2014 harvest is shaping up much the same way; I am expecting it to be three years-in-a-row of stellar grapes and superior wines for the top Paso Robles Cabernet labels."
About Chateau Margene
Chateau Margene is one of the Central Coast's premiere Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux-style producers. The Chateau Margene home estate is a true Paso Robles' appellation "First Growth." Owners Michael and Margene Mooney's vineyard designated releases have received national acclaim. The annual release of their very limited "Beau Melange" bottling is much anticipated. It is one of the finest Bordeaux-style blends produced in California - the perfect expression of a truly great vineyard site and one winemaker's history and passion in crafting Cabernet-based wines of the highest order. The wines of Chateau Margene are available in their tasting rooms in Creston and Morro Bay and at fine wine retailers and select restaurants. CM's online home is ChateauMargene.com