As summer slowly draws to a close, winemakers in multiple California regions are approaching and beginning their harvests.
The Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance announced the start of its picking season on Monday, while Napa Valley winemakers Honig Vineyard and Schramsberg Vineyards officially kicked off the region’s white and sparkling wine harvest last week.
Typically, the first yield of grapes each vintage are featured in sparkling wines, owing to the necessity to retain acidity.
One Sonoma Valley vineyard, Gloria Ferrer, celebrated its 40th vintage early Tuesday morning, according to a Aug. 9 press release. The sparkling wine harvest yielded some 20 tons of Pinot Noir grapes. Family vineyard Sangiacomo began harvesting grapes on Tuesday morning, during the Sonoma Valley’s 198th harvest.
In the nearby Napa Valley, the sparkling wine harvest kicked off in a similarly ceremonious manner.
Honig Vineyard began harvesting Sauvignon Blanc on Aug. 2, marking an exceptionally early start to the harvest season, as the Napa Valley Register reports.
The Rutherford, Calif. vineyard was followed by Schramsberg Vineyards in Calistoga, which started harvesting the first of its Pinot Noir grapes. After a summer filled with drought and concerns about wildfires, winemakers at Schramsberg say the crop was less bountiful and earlier than typical years.
Traditionally, Schramsberg celebrates the fall harvest with sabred bottles of its sparkling wine, similar to other Californian winemakers. The 2022 harvest is a significant celebration given how challenging the past several years have been. The 2020 Glass Fire in Napa Valley destroyed 90 percent of vineyards’ crops and left the winemakers without reliable electricity.
These early sparkling wine harvests mark the beginning of an exciting time of year for winemakers, though drinkers will need to wait a while longer to enjoy the bounty.