Napa Valley's New Coombsville AVA Among Last to Finish Harvest
(Napa, California)—Coombsville, the latest Napa Valley AVA to gain Federal approval for use as an official appellation, was also among the latest to finish the remarkably early 2015 harvest. As of October 14, virtually all Coombsville grapes have been harvested. Reports from members of the Coombsville Vintners and Growers Association tell of early picking, yields upwards of 50% below normal, along with outstanding concentration of flavors.
“Dry, hot and early are the three adjectives that describe the 2015 growing season. Bud set was early. A hot summer then drove a small, concentrated, early crop. Francis Vineyards harvested September 22nd, a month earlier than the norm over the last 5 years. While yields were down 35% from 2014, quality appears to be outstanding.” Rob Francis, proprietor of Francis Vineyard
“We completed the harvest of our Coombsville vineyard on October 1, a good three weeks earlier than normal. The cluster count was fairly close to normal but the berry weight was much lighter delivering a yield down by 35%. The quality is excellent which we attribute to Coombsville cooler environment.” Harry Parsley, Proprietor, Silver Stag Winery
“This year’s harvest was the earliest in my 16 years in Coombsville. We completed our harvest on September 30th. We normally pick our Cabernet Sauvignon at the end of October and this year we were one month early. Our old block had a lot of shatter yielding 50% of our normal crop and yielding 1.5 tons per acre. The quality however looks great.” Paul Maroon, Proprietor, Maroon Wines.
“In the 15 years we have grown Cabernet Sauvignon on our First Avenue site we have never harvested this early. However, our vintners clients are happy with the quality, as expressed by one who said, ‘The quality thus far is exceptional with sugars higher than in years past.’ Yields down about 25% from last year.” Richard Bennett, Proprietor, Bennett Vineyards
“We harvested all of our Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Meritage grapes on September 19, a full 5 weeks ahead of our normal picking dates of around Halloween! Overall, grape tonnage is light due to the "shatter" that was experienced in June. We saw 40-50% below normal yields. However, quality is extremely high with wonderful color, aromas and flavors.” Rebecca Sciandri Griffin, Sciandri Family Vineyards.
"We harvested our Coombsville vineyards very early this year due largely to 2015 being exceedingly warm. However, this is what we nomrally deal with in California—heat, dry conditions and nearly no water. This year we saw the real benefit of Coombsville's cooler climate. The wine from the 2015 Coombsville harvest is very concentrated and very good—but I had to work hard for it this year." Julien Fayard, Co-Owner, Covert Estate.
"Growing grapes in the cooler Coombsville AVA can sometimes feel like a lonely job. Over a month ago my fellow Napa Valley vintners celebrated the beginning of harvest…but my grapes in Coombsville were only 23° brix. Stopping by the winemaking supply house and chatting with my fellow vintners they exclaim they are 90% “in”, while I hadn’t even started yet. Showing up at the wine lab to drop off test samples, I find they are closed early since ‘harvest is over,’ but I still have two vineyards hanging! In all, we finished harvest in Coombsville on October 8, nearly three weeks earlier than normal. Yields were down 20% due to very tiny berries and fewer of them. However, the color is a magnificent inky blue in the reds and great concentration is the hallmark of our Coombsville 2015 vintage.” Tracy Riechow, Black Cat Vineyard.
The Coombsville AVA is located in the southeast corner of Napa Valley directly east of the town of Napa. It was approved as an official American Viticultural Area in December 2011. For more information about the Coombsville AVA see www.coombsvillenapa.com.