The harvest of 2008 brought us plush and balanced wines with a firm structure. Thanks to both small berries and small clusters, the wines are nicely concentrated and will be attractive and enjoyable in the years to come.
The 2008 season began slowly—cold and dry. Lower-than-average crop loads were brought on by a number of factors, beginning with one of the most extreme frost seasons the old-timers here have seen in over 30 years. As growers swapped war stories of working night after night to protect vineyards against frost, the soils remained cold and quite dry.
Nature takes care of itself, and grapevine canopies at Spottswoode remained small, which balanced nicely with the low crop loads. A consistent, cool summer made up for the difficult spring, and the tiny crop load matured with little stress.
A long heat spike over Labor Day weekend quickly brought our harvest on. In response to the high morning, day and nighttime temperatures and dry climate, some clusters began to stress. Then, with great relief, the temperatures lowered. Moderate fall weather returned, and the grapes were allowed the needed time to recover and mature.
At Spottswoode, we harvested grapes from the same block in multiple passes so that we could sort and separate the best clusters for use in our Spottswoode bottling. Our crew worked hard in two 12-hour shifts, running the sorting line almost around the clock in order to maximize our ability to sort for only the best fruit. It’s during these difficult seasons that we’re even more thankful for our dedicated staff and the blessing of sophisticated equipment!
Many thanks are due to Aron Weinkauf, our Assistant Winemaker, Jose Luis Lopez and his dedicated crew, as well as our energetic and youthful harvest intern, Chris Leonard.—Jennifer Williams, Winemaker