Saint Helena, CA (10/27/2022) - The 2022 harvest has concluded for most wineries and growers across Napa Valley. With climate variability as the new normal, Napa Valley grape growers aim to be the tip of the spear when it comes to resiliency and adaptability. This year, their preparation and experience paid off. Winemakers are referring to 2022 as “the tale of two harvests," making it one of the more unique vintages in recent history.
NOTES FROM THE VINEYARD (from the Napa Valley Grapegrowers)
In March, bud break started in Carneros and throughout some mountain appellations. Leading into May, the vines showed strong shoot growth and average crop yields. Early July kicked off veraison and the countdown to harvest began.
When faced with heat and rain events this year, grape growers showed foresight. “August provided warm days and cool nights, perfect for ripening. Then in September, we experienced a 5-day-long heat wave in the triple digits, which shifted our farming and harvest plan…but we’ve been preparing,” said Macy Stubstad, Director of Vineyard Operations for Lawrence Wine Estates. “We use a range of different trellis systems that splits and flops the canopy over the vines to protect the crop from strong morning and afternoon sun, allowing the fruit to retain acidity and freshness.”
Soon following the heat spike, Napa Valley received 0.6 – 1.2 inches of rainfall. “Crews opened up canopies for airflow, which alleviated mold and botrytis and allowed us to harvest clean fruit,” said Stubstad. And for Matt Ward, winemaker for Pride Mountain Vineyards, the rain event “plumped up” fruit still hanging on the vines.
With harvest complete, growers will ready for winter rainfall. They will put erosion control plans to work, spread compost throughout vineyards, aerate soils and prepare to seed for cover crop.
NOTES FROM THE WINERY (from the Napa Valley Vintners)
The white wine harvest kicked off in early August, followed quickly by red wine varieties. The typical gap between the white and red wine harvest was almost nonexistent, and the frenzied tempo continued until the rains came and the weather cooled in October.
“I’m calling 2022 a tale of two harvests. From August to mid-September it was intense and fast-paced. The rain in mid-September created a gap and sudden halt to harvest. The fruit that came in after had beautiful mild weather in early October and lots of time to get to perfect ripeness,” said Elizabeth Vianna, Winemaker and General Manager at Chimney Rock Winery.
Winemakers describe the 2022 white wines as having perfect acidity and freshness with remarkable flavors and textures, and red wines as excellent structured with deep red colors, luxurious tannins and exquisite fruit-forward aromatics.
Josh Widaman, Estate Winemaker at Pine Ridge Vineyards, thinks “this will be a vintage that showcases the full range of flavors that Napa Valley wines are so well known for, from zesty and vibrant to dense and powerful.”
As noted by winemaker Macario Montoya of Roots Run Deep Winery, "Each vintage tells a story that is unique and can never be replicated. We’ll remember 2022 as a vintage of craze and beauty. As the wines go to bed for the winter, we’re excited about their potential and the story they will continue to tell."
LEARN MORE ABOUT NAPA VALLEY’S 2022 VINTAGE
About the Napa Valley Grapegrowers
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers is a non-profit trade organization that has played a vital role in strengthening Napa Valley's reputation as a world-class viticultural region for 45 years. Its mission is to preserve and promote Napa Valley’s world-class vineyards. NVG represents 685 Napa County grape growers and associated businesses.
About the Napa Valley Vintners
The Napa Valley Vintners nonprofit trade association has been cultivating excellence since 1944 by inspiring its nearly 550 members to consistently produce wines of the highest quality, provide environmental leadership and care for the extraordinary place they call home. Since 1981, the NVV has invested more than $225 million in its community to provide equitable access to health care and opportunity for advancement in children’s education. NVV is dedicated to improving diversity and championing inclusivity in its community and in the wine industry.
By Kenny Martin, Wine Spectator
On Aug. 27, nearly 600 wine aficionados flocked to Oakville's Renteria 360 Vineyard for the 15th annual Harvest Stomp auction, a night of live music and great food for a worthy cause. This year’s event raised $3.3 million, surpassing last year's total by $600,000. Harvest Stomp supports Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG), which seeks to promote and preserve Napa vineyards, and the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, founded by NVG in 2011 to provide educational opportunities, English literacy programs and more for farmworkers.
The auction "celebrated the American and migrant farmers, caretakers of the land and all the families building a legacy for Napa Valley agriculture," according to its website. Harvest Stomp and its beneficiaries also advocate for change on issues such as climate resiliency, wildfire protection and sustainable agriculture.
"It was great to be with people who care so deeply about the Napa Valley and its farmworkers. The generosity shown in this 15th anniversary year of Stomp was unmatched," said auction co-chairs John and Michele Truchard, owners of JaM Cellars and FARM Napa Valley Vineyard Management, in a statement.
By Jess Lander, SF Chronicle
As California enters the height of fire season, Napa wine and hospitality groups have joined forces in an effort to stop blazes from getting out of control.
With government resources spread thin and a wildfire prevention initiative failing to pass in Napa in June, private organizations are stepping in. Together, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners and Visit Napa Valley are spending $33,000 per month for around-the-clock monitoring of artificial intelligence-powered cameras that can detect a fire within seconds of starting.
But the collaboration is only a temporary solution. While it will hopefully help keep residents and businesses safe through the current fire season, the groups also want to send a clear message to Napa County to do more next year.
Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners, and Visit Napa Valley Fund 24/7 Wildfire Detection Sensors
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners, and Visit Napa Valley have joined together to fund three early detection wildfire sensors on Atlas Peak, Clover Flat, and Diamond Mountain with 24/7 monitoring to protect Napa County residents and businesses from wildfires. The three organizations have assumed financial responsibility for the service through the months of September, October, and November 2022: the peak of Napa County’s fire season, covering some of the County’s highest fire-risk areas.
The Illumination Technologies (ITC) state of the art “IQ FireWatch sensors” triangulate locations of potential fire threats, including identifying specific parcel numbers in Napa County. This program was initiated in 2021 by Napa County and was maintained through public funds. Continued funding was expected to come from the ¼ percent sales tax proposed in Napa County’s Measure L, which unfortunately did not pass. To fill the gap, local grape growers Caymus Vineyards, E. & J. Gallo Winery, and Circle R Ranch & Vineyards generously donated funds to keep the sensors active during the beginning of the 2022 fire season. When the service was set to discontinue on August 31, 2022, the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners, and Visit Napa Valley stepped up to ensure early detection services continue uninterrupted through the end of this fire season. This partnership is a model for community-based resiliency work in the face of increased fire and climate risks that have greatly affected the Napa Valley community over the last several years.
“When we realized the service was at risk of shutting down, these organizations sprang into action to ensure the sensors stayed on. Early detection is a valuable tool in the toolbox when it comes to protecting the entire community from the wildfires like we’ve experienced over the last several years. Now with the partnership between Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Visit Napa Valley, and Napa Valley Vintners, this program will continue to safeguard the Napa Valley community through fire season. We’re proud to carry this community-first, collaborative initiative forward,” said Tom Davies, president and part-owner of V.Sattui Winery, who sits on the Napa Valley Grapegrowers Board of Directors, is the FY23 Chair of Visit Napa Valley Board of Directors, and is a long-time member of the Napa Valley Vintners.
The three existing cameras currently cover 48% of Napa County in high-risk areas. As part of this initiative, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, Napa Valley Vintners, and Visit Napa Valley are committed to working with other industry and community partners during this fire season and onward to implement a long-term plan for maintaining ongoing early detection services and expanding coverage to more areas throughout the County.
To support funding for the wildfire detection sensors, please email Molly Moran Williams, NVG Industry and Community Relations Director, at email@example.com.
NVG will carry forward a fire detection initiative, funding three early detection sensors for the month of September on Atlas Peak, Clover Flat, and Diamond Mountain with 24/7 monitoring to protect Napa County residents and businesses from wildfires.
The Illumination Technologies (ITC) state of the art “IQ FireWatch sensors” triangulate locations of potential fire threats including identifying specific parcel numbers in Napa County. This program was initiated in 2021, funded by Napa County. However, without the passing of Measure L, the service could no longer be maintained through public funds. Through the generosity of local grape growers, the sensors have continued to protect the community through the month of August. NVG will be taking on fiscal responsibility for the service through the month of September, at the peak of harvest and Napa County’s fire season—and in some of the County’s highest fire-risk areas.
“When we realized the service was at risk of shutting down, NVG leadership sprung into action to ensure the sensors stayed on. Early detection is a valuable tool in the toolbox when it comes to protecting the entire community from the wildfires like we’ve experienced over the last several years. We’re proud to carry this community-first, collaborative initiative forward,” said Tom Davies, who sits on NVG’s Board of Directors, Industry Issues Committee, and Wildfire Task Force.
As part of this initiative, NVG also commits to working with industry and community partners during the month of September and onward to implement a long-term plan for maintaining ongoing early detection services and expanding coverage to more areas throughout the County.
NVG would like to recognize the incredible generosity and stewardship of Caymus Vineyards and Circle R Ranch & Vineyards for their individual contributions that allowed the ITC service to remain in place through August in service to the entire community.
In addition to this initiative, the NVG Wildfire Task Force is engaged with several other projects including:
What is WHIP+?
Wildfire Hurricane Indemnity Program (WHIP+) program will provide $10 billion in critical relief to growers who suffered financial losses in 2020 and 2021 as a result of:
Eligibility and Application Details
Eligible producers include an individual or legal entity that assumes ownership share and risk of the crop, production, and market risk associated with the agricultural production of the eligible crops (including trees, bushes, and vines) that were verifiably grown/produced at the time of the disaster. The application is anticipated to open in the Spring of 2022.
What to do now to prepare for WHIP+ applications
Growers who are interested in applying when funding becomes available must first establish their farm records with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and complete a crop report before applying.
This can be done now by filling out the FSA form. Proof of farm ownership (i.e. with a deed of trust, or property tax coupon that shows the APN#) and a ranch map is required, and can be submitted via email to your local FSA office at FSA.Vacaville.CA@usda.gov.
Professional grant writing assistance at no cost to small producers!
As part of our recent California Underserved and Small Producers Program (CUSP) grant award, we are offering growers who fit the "small producer" criteria the ability to engage with a consulting firm to receive professional grant writing assistance when establishing farm records and applying for WHIP+ funding. If you are interested in utilizing these complimentary services to assist in your WHIP+ application, please contact Molly Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience.
All producers are encouraged to contact the Solano/Napa County FSA office for assistance with establishing records and applying for WHIP+.
Solano/Napa County FSA Office
810 Vaca Valley Pkwy Ste 102, Vacaville
P: (707) 448-0106 | F: (844) 206-0106
Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP) Financial Assistance
The USDA has also announced this new financial assistance program for agricultural producers. Growers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit if you plant cover crops during the 2022 crop year.
Contact the Solano/Napa County FSA office via email or phone at (707) 448—0106 for assistance and more information.
Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) announces that bud break has begun in Napa Valley. “We’re seeing variable bud break in our chardonnay planted in the Carneros AVA,” said Brittany Pederson, Director of Viticulture for Renteria Vineyard Management, “Within the next week, we’ll begin seeing bud break throughout the valley.”
Pederson added that her water reserves were full in most locations, and while grape growers need rain, she feels good heading into the new season. “Because the soils are dry, we got a head start with floor management this year,” Pederson said, “For example, we’ve been able to mow and disk early, which helps prepare us for frost season.” By mowing and disking cover crop now, soils can hold the necessary heat to keep frost from damaging delicate buds, it also allows for air flow – both of which support a healthy growing season for Napa’s vineyards.
With sustainable practices top-of-mind, many grape growers are also welcoming sheep into their vineyards. As herds graze freely on hearty cover crop, their nutrient-rich manure provides a quick way for grape growers to feed their soils, and an excellent way to reduce the usage of mowers throughout the vineyard.
Napa Grape Growers, Vineyard Managers, Businesses Come Together to Donate 335 Warm Coats for Families in Need
The Napa Valley Grapegrowers (NVG) and the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation (FWF) kicked off the year collecting cold-weather clothing through their very first Winter Coat Drive.
Throughout January, Napa Valley grape growers, vineyard managers, and ag-based businesses donated high-quality, warm clothing – coats, scarves, socks, and gloves – digging deep into their closets to support community members in need. In total, 335 coats were donated for distribution through local community groups, like Puertas Abiertas, On the Move, and the Salvation Army.
“Whether it is a seminar on climate-smart vineyard practices with NVG or a summer mentor program for local high school students with the Farmworker Foundation – everything we do aims to support and strengthen the Napa Valley community for a brighter tomorrow,” said Jennifer Putnam, Executive Director and CEO of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers and Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation, “To collect warm coats for families in need was an effective and meaningful way to support this winter – and NVG members contributed beyond any expectations!”
The Napa County Pruning Contest is almost of drinking age, having just celebrated its 20th year on Saturday at Beringer Vineyards’ Gamble Ranch.
Put on each year by the Napa Valley Farmworker Foundation and Napa Valley Grapegrowers, the pruning contest is a way for the organizations to recognize the valley’s talented vineyard crews.
This year’s winners came from Renteria Vineyard Management and Joseph Phelps Vineyards, with Erika López taking the women’s title and Casimiro Zaragoza for the men, respectively.
Those who came in second, third, and fourth also were awarded, with Atlas Vineyard Management’s Agustín Arias, St. Supery’s Hector Rodríguez, and Walsh Vineyards Management’s Lorenzo Hernández Aquino winning in the men’s category. Verónica Medina Reyes from Bayview — who won first place in the 2019 competition, Ana Mejia from Trefethen, and Rosa Martínez from Bettinelli Vineyards were honored in the women’s contest.
By Kristen Bieler
In the fall of 2020, the grapes in Alison Sokol Blosser's vineyards were ripe—and she had no one to pick them.
Pandemic-related travel restrictions meant that none of her international harvest interns had arrived, and the local labor pool in Oregon's Yamhill County, where the winery is located, was essentially nonexistent. "We had to get the grapes off, so I pulled my kids out of school and my nephews and my parents—who hadn't picked grapes in 30 years—all worked in the vineyard."
Grappling with a similar labor shortage in 2021, Sokol Blosser, like so many desperate vintners across the U.S., turned to farm labor contractors for hiring needs, which drove up seasonal costs exponentially. "We need solutions; the labor crisis is not going away," she told Wine Spectator.