Harvest Report 2007: A Look at Sonoma County

Last week, representatives from the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, Sonoma County Vintners and Sonoma County Tourism Bureau converged on New York City to update the media and trade on the 2007 harvest.

In a rare opportunity, wine grapes had been flown in for the occasion, giving participants the chance to taste several different varieties. All of the grapes were sweet and had crunchy seeds, which, we were informed, is a sign of ripeness. There were differences in color and grape sizes and shapes, as indicative of the various varieties. For example, the Syrah had an ovoid shape while the Zinfandel was the largest berry in the group. It was an interesting introduction to the harvest.

During the formal report, participants were provided with an overview of the growing conditions that had transpired since bud break. With bud break beginning in March, the vines had awoken from their winter slumber a full two weeks earlier than usual. The vines continued to develop throughout the growing season and stayed on course for an early harvest. This was particularly true with the arrival of a heat wave in late August/early September. Temperatures soared to 106F and there was a rush to pick some of the white grape varieties before they became to ripe and/or burned. However, the heat soon dissipated and gave way to a cool front, which was then followed by several weeks of warmer, dry days. Accordingly, the red grape varieties have had the luxury of further ripening under ideal conditions. By the time of this report (October 4, 2007), the red grape harvest had been 70% completed with Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon still waiting on the vine for some additional hang time. Overall, the grapes were predicted to produce wonderful wines with balanced structure and good flavor.

Afterward, guests were treated to a wonderful lunch replete with the broader harvest bounty that Sonoma County has to offer. A region of polyculture, not just viticulture, Sonoma Country grows a wide range of produce and hosts numerous farms. Not surprisingly, each course was paired with one or more Sonoma County wines.

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