Covid-19 and wildfires have obviously made 2020 a difficult year for grape growing and winemaking. The reality is 2020 also affected Navarro's marketing of the 2019 vintage. Covid-19 has closed Navarro's tasting room for months and, like many family businesses, we huddled over our laptop spreadsheets in the spring and decided to decrease our sales projections. The result is that despite 2019 being an excellent year for Gewürztraminer, we made considerably less than usual, selling off what we worried was excess as Cuvée Traditional.
Casey Hartlip inspecting his Gewürztraminer harvest. Casey manages the vineyards at our neighbors, Valley Foothills Vineyards. In the 1990s they planted a Gewürztraminer vineyard for Navarro on soil similar to Navarro's West Hill. Since it is pruned and managed to Navarro's specs it can be labeled Estate Bottled. In 2019 this field made delicious grape juice, but because of our meager harvest in 2020, we harvested this field fully ripe for our Estate Bottled bottling. “Not coincidentally, Navarro has long made California's finest Gewürztraminer.” —Dan Berger, Napa Valley Register
Night harvesting West Hill Gewürztraminer with face masks in 2020. Luke, the large dog in the foreground, is a recent addition to Navarro's herd and likes spending his night guarding the pickers.
Over six inches of rain in early May 2019 saturated the soil and the vines responded by producing lush growth. Navarro's West Hill exposure to the ocean breezes make it the coolest of our Gewürz sites and the vines produce the most aromatic wines with good acidity and a long finish—wine from this field accounts for about two-thirds of the Estate Bottled cuvée. The remainder comes from the East Hill which is a slightly warmer location as it isn't in the direct path of the ocean breezes. It has more body than the West Hill and adds a citrusy quality to the tropical fruit flavors of the West Hill. Navarro running low on Gewürz is unprecedented but golly, so was 2020! Gold Medal winner.