The spring of 2009 was a contradiction. By all definitions, it was the third drought year in a row for California. But a mid-May downpour rehydrated our soils and persuaded the vines to believe that times were better. They grew, canes reaching for the top wires of their trellises with dark green leaves glossy in the sun.
The beautiful canopies might have thought the drought was over, but the grape clusters knew differently. They set lightly with lovely loose clusters of small, concentrated berries. Little adjustment was needed to ensure the amount of crop matched the canopy—a natural balance had been struck between grape and leaf.
Summer progressed mildly with a couple of late season heat spells we’ve now come to expect. Despite their regularity, these heat waves make our staff a just little anxious, as our vines battle the heat to preserve their crop with the hope that it will not interfere with the steady ripening of their grapes.
We were relieved when the last of our grapes were harvested just days before record-setting rains hit our valley. The Napa Valley may have experienced two harvests in 2009: before the rain; and after the rain as remnants of Super Typhoon Melor wet our area.
Our wines are now tucked safely in barrel away from winter’s freezing fingers. The vintage shows great promise, much as 2007 did at this time. At Spottswoode, we eagerly anticipate tasting these wines in the upcoming spring as we look forward to the promise of a new vintage and the beginning of the next growing season.
Kudos to our hard-working crew and harvest intern, Sandra Doix Mora, who were directed by Aron Weinkauf (our Vineyard Manager) and Jose Luis Lopez (our Vineyard Foreman).—Jennifer Williams, Winemaker