... 'The vines came out strong in the spring, and we had no frost that would require our growers to use their water for frost protection,' said Axel Schug, managing partner at Schug winery in Carneros. 'The vines and fruit look very healthy, maybe a little on the early side.'
Alison Crowe, winemaker at Garnet Vineyards, which sources grapes from Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Napa and Sonoma Carneros AVAs, said, 'The crop size overall is looking to be healthy but certainly not as big as 2012 or 2013. Knock on a lot of wood, it’s been an almost textbook growing season. The North Coast suffered hardly any frost events and this Spring and Summer have been warm and mild.'
Doug Shafer, at Shafer Vineyards, said the crop looks normal and quality is looking good, even if not the size of the last two years. 'We had two very heavy crop years in 2012 and 2013, so there is no way that 2014 would ever be a “heavy” year,' he added.
An average-sized harvest may help some winemakers, after reports last autumn that some producers were struggling to make space for two consecutive bumper crops.
Crowe said the true effects of the drought may not be seen until next year. 'Our North Coast vineyards seem to have enough water to get them through harvest, but we need a nice wet winter to keep all the vines, farmers and winemakers happy,' she said.
Right now, because of the early harvest, 'the only thing winemakers are freaking out about is going straight from bottling the 2013s into harvest 2014,' said Chris Kajani, winemaker for Saintsbury in Carneros.