The combination of Gewürztraminer's small clusters, tiny berries and sensitivity to lousy weather, results in the vines being shy producers. Over the last forty years, Gewürz has produced the smallest yield per acre of the seven different wine-grape varieties we grow. At the beginning of May 2015, just as our grapevines came into flower, the weather turned cold and windy and remained that way for almost a month. The Gewürz vines responded by producing forty percent fewer grapes than normal. Although our Gewürz vines frequently have a modest crop, with some shatter or shot berry, the last time the fruit on our vines suffered as much was in 2005 when the yield was less than half of normal. In 2015, Navarro's crew picked each field slightly faster than we did the year before, as it takes the same amount of time to pick a full grape cluster as it does a cluster with forty percent fewer berries. However, from the winery's perspective, with forty percent less fruit to process each day, the Gewürz harvest seemed to dawdle. The fruit from the first Gewürz field we harvested, was destemmed and the juice allowed to macerate with the skins for several hours before pressing; as the harvest progressed, “skin contact” time before pressing was reduced, then finally eliminated.
Edgar Alvarez (below) and Jesus Valdivia (right) harvesting Gewürztraminer at night. Edgar, Jesus and the rest of Navarro's crew are full-time, benefited employees.
Coulure (shatter) is the vine's reaction to cold, windy and rainy weather during flowering which causes a failure of grapes to develop. As carbo- hydrate levels decrease after flowering, the stems connected to the berries shrivel and the small berries fall off.
After a slow, cool fermentation in oak ovals, the wine in each cask rested for eight months with the yeast, contributing to a svelte mouthfeel. Warm aromas of peach, lychee, rose petal and mango tea contrast with bracing acidity from cool summer nights. Gold Medal winner.