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2011 Napa Valley Grape Harvest

With the 2011 Napa Valley harvest season winding down, one has to really wonder how this vintage will turn out. Napa Valley experienced a cold and wet spring with late flowering and flowers dropping off of the grape clusters which is known as grape shatter. The cool wet conditions had many vineyards on the lookout for botrytis rot and mildew.  Cooler summer temperatures have many vineyards delaying harvest by weeks. And no doubt grape crop yields will be down also. In fact weather throughout North America for 2011 was rather extreme with unseasonably cool temperatures in Oregon, heavy early frost in central California, heat waves and drought in Texas, unusual amounts of rain, Hurricane Irene and the recent Noreaster that hit much of New Jersey, New York and New England on the east coast. That makes me wonder how the 2011 vintages hroughout the entire US will turnout. On a positive note many grape growers employ proactive and innovative techniques to combat extreme weather conditions. While yields may be lower they could also be higher in quality and late season warm temperatures have helped many vineyards extending hang time. Only time will tell how we will judge the 2011 wines, and as I do with every new vintage I will patiently wait to taste them and search out those special gems that always tend to come out of a tough year.

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