Budbreak in our Pinot vineyards in 2016 was in late February, which is over a month earlier than the typical date when we first started growing grapes. Early budbreak generates a lot of angst for farmers. Not only are the crops exposed to more days of potential frost in the spring, but since the grapes will be harvested a month earlier, the likelihood of harvesting in extreme heat is greatly increased. Extreme heat during harvest is a nightmare for grape-growers as the window for optimum ripeness narrows to days rather than weeks. For the winemaker, not only is it a challenge having all the grapes arrive in a condensed period of time but the heat can have a negative effect on wine quality. We were lucky in 2016. We didn't lose any fruit to frost damage, spring weather proved mild and the vines set a nice crop. Summer progressed uneventfully and, as we expected, grapes looked like they would be ready to harvest in late August.
May 1991; planting vines in Hammer Olsen Pinot "C" block. In 2010 we discovered that this field makes delightful rosé and for every subsequent vintage this field is the base wine for this Navarro bottling.
Ted closing the door on a Europress. Modern presses are programmable, which is great, since different white grape varieties typically require different settings as do rosé and red musts. Years of experience picking the right program helps.
At the end of July, however, the hot summer days came to an end and, with the exception of two days, we had pleasantly mild weather all through harvest. Miraculously, ripening was slow with the moderate temperatures and we were able to harvest all our grapes in an unhurried seven weeks as compared to the four to five weeks we had experienced in 2014 and 2015. Seductive rose petal aromas are a result of the cool harvest weather. In this pretty Rosé, Pinot's strawberry-watermelon flavors are front and center; the palate is long and creamy culminating in a clean, crisp finish.
Night harvesting Pinot Noir from the "C" block of the Hammer Olsen vineyard. Cold fruit is easier to process than warm fruit; the colder the fruit the slower the extraction of color and tannins. This allows for "fine-tuning" of the soak-out time before pressing.