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Vintners: The 2023 vintage was exceptional

Wine grapes enjoyed extra ripening time before harvest.

Farm Press Staff

December 29, 2023

1 Min Read
Grapes grow in a vineyard in Sonoma County, Calif.Tim Hearden

The late start to this year’s wine grape harvest in California didn’t harm the quality of the vintage, which vintners are celebrating as exceptional.

Plentiful winter rains revitalized the soils and encouraged healthy canopies while cooler temperatures across California in spring and summer allowed grapes to develop gradually, enjoying extra ripening time, the San Francisco-based Wine Institute reported.

Many vintners predict that the 2023 vintage will be one of the finest in years, producing wines with beautiful flavors, vibrant acidity and remarkable balance, according to the institute.

“The winter was unusually cold and wet, and we even got a rare 10 inches of snow,” said Christian Ahlmann, vice president at Six Sigma Ranch in Lower Lake, Calif. “The soil moisture was restored while the vines were dormant, and they loved every minute of it when they woke up in spring.”

Harvest began late throughout California, running anywhere from two weeks to a full month behind normal timing. Many varieties reached maturity simultaneously, leading to a compressed harvest. Some vintners expected to continue picking grapes into late November.

California produces about 80% of the nation’s wine, making it the world’s fourth-largest wine producing region. More than 80% of California wine is made in a Certified Sustainable California Winery and over half of the state’s roughly 615,000 vineyard acres are certified to one of California’s sustainability programs (Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing, Fish Friendly Farming, LODI RULES, Napa Green and SIP Certified).

Source: Wine Institute

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