The ever vigilant Jeff Quackenbush of the North Bay Business Journal checked in with the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission this week and learned the 2012 winegrape harvest might be even better than expected this year with tonnage anywhere between 15 and 20 percent more than initial estimates.
"Now it's about tank space and barrel capacity than weather," said Nick Frey, President of the Sonoma County Winegrape Association.
That's certainly been true here at J, where we've actually wrapped up our harvest. Last week, Winemaker Melissa Stackhouse was waiting for tank space before giving the green light to finish final picking of the Jewell Ranch Chardonnay grapes.
The Jewell Ranch Vineyard is located on a rolling ridgetop near the idyllic town of Graton. After pressing, the Chardonnay goes into a selection of oak barrels from the Vosges region of France, which impart an elegant vanilla character to the wine. (Pear and butterscotch flavors are this wine's other most distinctive notes.)
Jeff reports that crop yields are up in Mendocino County's Anderson Valley growing region too — about 20 to 25 percent above the average year.