Grapes Traveling

Harvested just a couple days ago, our Cabernet Sauvignon from Stagecoach Vineyards are in a refrigerated truck making their way to the east coast. I was curious as to the number of growing degree days in Napa. Data for Oakville in Napa Valley put the growing degree days over the 2400 mark. This is a benchmark for the ripening of Cabernet Sauvignon. We heard that the Cabernet Sauvignon was measuring 25 brix. That will give us a potential alcohol wine around the 13.75% area. Of course growing degree days and brix level are only a couple data points that growers use to determine when to harvest the grapes. Since our grapes are in the Atlas Peak AVA, the growing degree days should be slightly different.

It does make me wonder though, about those growers that plant Cabernet Sauvignon in regions that can not guarantee the minimum number of growing degree days for the variety to ripen. Under ripe Cabernet Sauvignon has a vegetative aroma and taste, a profile I personally shy away from. One other important data point for this years Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon is the weather. In 2009 when we sourced grapes from the region, there were several inches of rain prior to the Cabernet Sauvignon harvest. Although the growers waited a week for the grapes to loose some of the water they absorbed, they lost just some of the water. In 2012, it has been dry. Talking to different growers in Napa, I’ve learned that there is much excitement. The weather this year has been great for grape growing in that area. Kathy and I are looking forward to making an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon with these grapes. Destemming is in a week.


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