We will look back on the 2012 growing season fondly recalling an uneventful growing season that had few frost days or heat spikes that can make life for the ZD winemaking and vineyard crews very stressful. After two challenging years of cool, wet, and sometimes freezing conditions in 2010 and 2011, a collective sigh of relief has set upon Napa Valley now as most of the crop has been collected, pressed and set down to barrel.
Harvesting the grapes is as important as anything we do. It is hard work requiring skilled workers to gently and quickly collect the fruit at the optimal time, before sugar levels fluctuate or flavor profiles turn the wrong way. While the growing season was perfect this year, Harvest 2012 did pose some challenges. This year, much of the fruit became ripe at the same time, where most years it comes in evenly; usually white varieties like Chardonnay ripen earlier than the reds, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. This year much of the crop became ripe at the same time, putting pressure on creating enough tank space to ferment the wine, but our skilled cellar crew worked long and hard to keep up with this year’s frenzied pace.
Now the crush pad is quiet, but only a few days ago every device in the winery was on: cranking, spinning, pumping and squishing. Trucks rattled and clanged along, bringing in the grapes that make ZD wine.
Winemaker Chris Pisani couldn’t be more pleased with this year’s harvest: “The fruit this year was pristine, and after a couple light years, it was nice to see a healthy crop.”
“It has been a great finish to an incredible season and now on to the work in the winery,” says Brandon deLeuze, Assistant Winemaker. “I am very excited about this year’s vintage and looking forward to drinking the balanced and complex wines of 2012.”