- Homepage for the Wine Industry

One of the Latest Harvests in Nearly Twenty-plus Years Begins for Many Growers in the Arroyo Seco

2020 Harvest in the Arroyo Seco AVA of Monterey County

(Greenfield, CA) September 28, 2020– The Arroyo Seco Winegrowers Association has just kicked off the 2020 harvest and is pleased with the exceptional quality.

While we have had many heat and fire events, the resilient vineyards are continuing to show well. A look at sugars shows that we have had some recovery and are trending toward an end of September ramp up of harvest. The recent marine layer has helped with cooler evening temps that allow the vine to take a break at night and continue with a longer hang time and fruit development, which is characteristic of the Arroyo Seco region.

Michael Griva, F & G vineyards President
“Although 2020 will certainly go down as a challenging year for all in agriculture, I must say that, for the most part, our growing season has been great. Spring and summer were relatively cool, with the exception of a small heat wave mid-August.

Over the past few weeks, I have often been asked if the recent fires have played a role in harvest this year. I continue to see that in our region, the primary impact has been a slight delay in the ripening of fruit. After several discussions with other vineyard owners and winemakers from the Arroyo Seco AVA we feel that the fires will not impact the quality of this vintage. We are validating that with scientifically testing grape samples at labs that measure taint impacts. To date, results have come back favorable for our growers. The fruit has retained high quality that we have come to know from the Arroyo Seco.”

Kristen Barnhisel, J. Lohr Winemaker, White Wine
“It has been mostly a cool spring and summer for 2020, until the recent warmth in August. We are seeing the typical late ripening that usually occurs in the Arroyo Seco, especially in this cool region south of Monterey Bay and with the wind effect that often happens during summer afternoons. The J. Lohr vineyards that I’ve walked in the Arroyo Seco in early September were entirely through veraison or softening of the berries (color development for red varietals), with high acidity in the berries, but not ready to pick for about another month. We had good set this spring, so very few hens and chicks this year. We haven’t seen much flavor development yet, except for the Sauvignon Blanc which may be picked in the next two weeks. Sauvignon Blanc starts out to ripen moderately, but does finish flavor and sugar development rather quickly. We are starting maturity sampling next week and looking forward to seeing what we can create in this distinctive 2020 harvest!”

Niki Wente, Wente Vineyards 5th Generation Winegrower & Viticulture Manager 
“Overall we had a beautiful growing season with consistent warm days throughout the summer leading to an earlier harvest. We picked for sparkling wine on 8/26 and are thrilled with the freshness of the fruit this far. We started picking our Pinot Noir second week of September. We have seen beautiful color extraction from our samples, looks like it will be a great year for Arroyo Seco Pinots! Our Chardonnay is tasting great already, but will likely slow in ripening over the next few weeks. We anticipate that our Riva Ranch Chardonnay harvest will begin the last week of September and finish up the final week of October. All in all, I would expect juicy ripe flavors and deep color from the 2020 vintage; another great year from Arroyo Seco.”

Jason Smith, President and CEO, Smith Family Wines
“While smoke taint is top of mind and we are working proactively with our winery partners, the vintage outside of that looks outstanding. The crop is balanced and has been ripening nicely with what looks like a great vintage for wine. The recent heat wave helped us make up about a 2 week lag in our growing season. Harvest started in Arroyo Seco AVA in mid-September and I see us wrapping up in mid-October if all else holds.”

About the Arroyo Seco Winegrowers

The Arroyo Seco Winegrowers Association provides advocacy, marketing and support services to its winery and winegrower members by educating consumers, media and trade audiences on the distinct characteristics of the region in an effort to bring broader awareness to the Arroyo Seco American Viticultural Area. As one of oldest of the nine AVAs within Monterey County, the Arroyo Seco is a cool climate AVA influenced by the Monterey Bay, well-drained rocky soils, extreme winds and experienced growers who have been growing grapes for over 40 years.

For more information on the winegrape growers and wines from the Arroyo Seco AVA, please visit

Copyright© 1994-2021 by Wine Communications Group. All Rights Reserved. Copyright protection extends to all written material, graphics, backgrounds and layouts. None of this material may be reproduced for any reason without written permission of the Publisher. Wine Business Insider, Wine Business Monthly, Grower & Cellar News and Wine Market News are all trademarks of Wine Communications Group and will be protected to the fullest extent of the law.