Feature Coverage

US 2014 Vintage – early, fast, eventful

“It has become my habit each year to check in with winemakers across the United States as harvest concludes in order to get a sense of the vintage as a whole. Without fail, the assessments I receive from the far-flung winegrowing regions of the country generally sound like descriptions of something completely different from what we have experienced here in California. If nothing else, these reports serve as an excellent reminder of the dangers of generalizing about the character of any one harvest, especially in a country as large as America.”

Santa Barbara County, California
“Further south, the drought was just as bad, but the coastal regions of Santa Barbara managed a comparatively uneventful growing season. ‘Things could have been a whole lot worse’, says Dieter Cronje, winemaker at Presqu’ile Winery in the Santa Maria Valley. ‘This should be a very educational vintage, one we’ll look back at and understand how our vines and wines react to such a unique season. With everything from budbreak to harvest being about a month early, we still managed to get the same amount of hang time so it was not a shortened growing season.’

“Cronje, like many winemakers I spoke with, expressed surprise that crop levels were so comparable to 2012 and 2013 given the extent of the drought. Like many he suggested that without some significant moisture this winter, the next harvest would be a different animal altogether.

“While the continuing extremes of weather offer challenges to vintners around the country, on the whole, 2014 seems to have been a reasonably successful growing season for the majority of America’s wine regions, although not without its share of stress for both winemakers and their vines. With wines now slumbering in barrels for most, we simply need to wait for the opportunity to taste them.”

Alder Yarrow, October 23, 2014
US 2014 Vintage – early, fast, eventful