Mi Sueño Owner/Winemaker Cites Perfect Growing Conditions for Optimistic Outlook
August 29, 2016
NAPA, California (August 29, 2016)—Rolando Herrera, owner of Mi Sueño Winery (www.misuenowinery.com) is preparing for his 32nd professional grape harvest. Herrera produces 10,000 cases per year at his Mi Sueño Winery and consults for a dozen different top-rated wineries. His Herrera Vineyard Management company cares for prime vineyards spread throughout Napa and Sonoma counties, including his own 40 acres of estate vineyards. “I am loving this growing season,” Herrera explained. “We’ve had perfectly warm days with cool nights, which gives the vines a chance to rest. We got fast, even veraison and have avoided major heat spikes, so there was no burning of fruit or loss of leaves.”
After four years of severe drought, winemakers weren’t sure what Mother Nature held in store for them in 2016. The 2015 harvest was difficult, with many vineyards setting much smaller than normal crops. Additionally, due to a drawn-out veraison period, there was widespread “grape shatter” where the grape clusters failed to develop fully, as the grapevine’s flowers weren’t pollinated or the tiny berries that formed fell off. Either way, shatter led to severely diminished grape tonnage in the vineyards.
This year’s harvest appears to be much better. Herrera expects his Russian River vineyards to be off 35 percent of their normal crop this year, which is much better than the 50 percent loss in 2015. Other vineyards in Carneros are much the same, with some shatter, but nothing like last year. Herrera points out that both areas have maintained very healthy leaf canopy and have produced smaller berries, which often leads to better wine.
Herrera’s Malbec Vineyard is back to normal this year with 8 to 10 pounds of grapes per vine. “The Syrah had some shatter again this year, but not too bad,” he said. “Actually a little shatter in Syrah is nice, because the berries aren’t so tight and it makes for full bunches with less chance of rot in case of rain.”
His Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards are down about 20 percent from normal, much improved from the last vintage. Herrera chooses to use infrequent, deep watering cycles in support of his vines. This conserves water by minimizing water loss due to evaporation. He is fortunate to have the water he needs to irrigate, but chooses to irrigate just enough to keep the vines moving forward toward a good harvest. Herrera can barely contain his enthusiasm for this upcoming vintage, “If this great weather holds, I expect that 2016 will be a wonderful vintage.”