Harvest 2017: Roberson Reports

Published by Anna Von Bertele on 04/10/2017

Wondering how vintage 2017 is shaping up? We’ve been checking in with a number of our producers from across the northern hemisphere, to find out how this year’s harvest has gone. We’ll be publishing thoughts from several key growers across Europe in coming days, but first, we’re heading to California to hear from John and David Viano.

Part 1: Contra Costa County, California

“Hey John, how’s harvest going for you this year?”

John: “In a word, crazy!”

In Northern California, harvest kick started after a heatwave in the last two weeks of August. The vintage itself had huge potential, with a great warm year and much needed early season rain after many years of drought - “with all the rainfall this year we were expecting to see large berry size, but to our pleasant surprise, size remained normal.” This means the grapes have concentrated flavour, rather than being weak and diluted.

However, the end of summer heatwave put up some obstacles to an easy year. Out in Contra Costa, a region with only a few wineries, the Viano brothers suffered from lack of available labour and harvested at least 80% of their grapes themselves. 35 tons of fruit were harvested by 4 people in 10 days, not forgetting the other aspects of production that need doing at the same time!

But experienced winemaker brothers John and David have not let some strong sunshine get in the way of their crop. They’re used to these kind of hot conditions, so wild-farm their vines with huge canopies of growth protecting the grapes. Any exposed grapes that did suffer from sunburn or shrivelled in the heat have been abandoned, meaning their crop size is smaller than average, however they still believe that what they have managed to pick is above average.

We look forward to seeing the results when the wines are released in 4 years’ time.


Anna Von Bertele

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