With the first grapes of the season picked just before dawn Thursday morning, about 20 tons of Pinot Noir grapes at Sasaki Vineyards, the 196th Sonoma Valley winegrape harvest officially began.
This is the 30th harvest for grower/owner Janet Sasaki, whose load (above) is destined for sparkling wine at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards.
“I have got the best guys, they are like family to us, and maintain these vineyards meticulously,” she said “This vineyard is more beautiful than ever and we are looking forward to a great crop. We only had one day that we had to protect for frost this year, we were fortunate.”
The growing season this year presented us with some challenges with a late frost event after bud break and some cold rainy weather during bloom,” says Gloria Ferrer Director of Winemaking Steven Urberg, “however in spite of these potential difficulties we are today looking at a beautiful crop that promises to be excellent quality.”
The harvest begins about 12 days earlier than usual, Urberg said, because of early bud break and warm weather. “While this year has thrown plenty of challenges at our team, we are all looking forward to a safe and successful harvest and to produce some excellent wines from the 2020 vintage,” he said.
To commemorate the beginning of the Sonoma Valley Harvest, the community shares videos and photos ‘ringing in’ the new harvest with bells, a tradition established in 2018 by The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance (SVVGA). The nonprofit trade association representing more than 100 wineries and 140 grape growers.
“The SVVGA recognizes the hard work and unprecedented dedication of Sonoma Valley vintners, growers and our skilled labor force in producing the highest quality winegrapes and premium wines,” said Maureen Cottingham, executive director.
SVVGA Board President and COO of Price Family Vineyards & Estates, Prema Behan, added, “Our heritage includes leadership in California winemaking, exceptional growing conditions and iconic vineyard sites. It’s our commitment to winegrowing and the winemaking of world-class wines, and that is especially evident in days like today. Cheers to a great 2020 Harvest!”
SVVGA encourages community members and the public to follow along this harvest season on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SonomaValleyWine) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/SonomaValleyWine) to share in the #SonomaValleyHarvest.
Since March of this year, Cottingham said, the SVVGA has been dedicated to supporting the Sonoma Valley wine industry and greater community navigate challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.” With an aim to assist vintners and growers, the nonprofit devoted energies and efforts to bringing critical resources, expertise and supplies to best support the wine business community and its workforce; compiled real-time updates to keep members informed of County Orders and state legislation; and launched multiple marketing initiatives such as Sonoma Valley at Home, The Sonoma Valley Wine Collective and Sonoma Valley Safe that reinforce safety procedures the wine industry is making, as well as improve consumer engagement during these challenging times.”
Photo credit: Gentleman & a Ginger