Cabernet Sauvignon just after bud break


We are off to a dry but fast start here in Napa. Bud break was only a few weeks ago but already many vineyards are at the 6” shoot mark. So far this season is shaping up to be the driest on record which could mean amazing quality but very high risk for wild fires. As a winemaker, one can only hope that with the fires of the past 5 years, everything around us has burned significantly recently to not be a major fire threat due to lack of abundant fuel.

There was a freak sunshower in Napa this week which hit parts of the valley with a fast but torrential downpour. Other parts of the valley got nothing. I was worried about hail but heard no reports of it, thank goodness. Many growers were on their tractors shortly after making sure the unexpected moisture didn’t contribute to a Powdery Mildew outbreak.

Overall we have had a long but seemingly uneventful frost season so far. The frost fans were a common wake up call for us in March and early April but as the nights are getting warmer now and the fog layer is rolling in I’ve been hearing them less.

Finger Lakes

We haven’t seen bud break in the FLX yet. It snowed this past week so the rumor on the street says snow in April means a warm vintage which is always appreciated. There haven’t been too many deep freezes this winter so bud health looks good so far. Once we pass Memorial Day, the threat of frost is greatly reduced and the season will get going rapidly.

2020 Vintage Wrap Up

2020 was spectacular in the FLX however I haven’t really written about the vintage until now since 2020 was so devastating out here in Napa. It was very hard to process both elation and devastation at the same time so I ended up not really doing my annual harvest recap.

The warm vintage was relatively dry for the area and ranks up there with 2016 in my opinion (although not quite as dry as that). Flavors were amazingly concentrated and acids fresh and bright. Both Trestle Thirty One and my new brand Snowshell Vineyards, which is available through Naked Wines for pre-order now, look amazing and I’m so excited about how these wines will evolve.

In hindsight, 2020 in Napa was not as bad as we anticipated. The whites are amazing. Bright and fresh with concentrated flavors so I am very excited about that. The jury is still out on the reds. It’s very possible some beautiful early harvest reds such as Pinot Noir and early Cabernet will show how much promise 2020 had as a vintage. Unfortunately we already know many wineries have declared they will not be making a 2020 vintage also. The emotions are still raw and the full impact is still undetermined. In the meanwhile, please support your favorite wineries so that many who were directly impacted can begin to rebuild.