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2011 Harvest Report

Weather, Growing Conditions, and Grape Quality

2011 Wine Grape Harvest Guide

Two days shy of the end of October, so the 2011 wine grape harvest should be virtually complete worldwide. While the Southern Hemisphere wineries brought in their crops earlier this year, picking is winding down in the North. While it's too early to 'rate' the vintage overall, it's always fun to get a gauge on what the season was like and what people are saying in each region so far.

2011 Harvest Report - France (May be mixed - wait and see)

Weather: A dry spring, followed by precipitation in late Summer. Warm, dry conditions returned for September.
Growing Conditions: Late summer rains boosted vine production yielding the largest crop since 2006, but the September hot, dry days allowed the grapes to dry out, fending off botrytis or mold.
Quality: Quality and character may vary depending on when growers chose to pick - some began very early while others took a gamble on good September weather continuing. Some are calling the year 'exceptional'.

2011 Harvest Report - Italy (One to watch!)

Weather: Hot, drought conditions in the second half of August and into Fall.
Growing Conditions: The heat lowered yields from the vines by causing stress. Vines produced both fewer bunches as well as smaller berries.
Quality: Growers are extremely optimistic. Although this will be the smallest yield from Italy overall in 60 years (due in part to some vineyards being pulled up), the harvest is being compared to the excellent 2001 vintage.

2011 Harvest Report - California (Challenging - be choosy)

Weather: Triple whammy of spring rain, cool summer and wet fall.
Growing Conditions: Spring rains can interfere with fruit set, translating to smaller yield - probably a 'help' with the cooler summer temps since a big crop takes even longer to ripen. However, late rain can dilute juice or bring on problems with rot and fungus.
Quality: Unlikely to be a good vintage across the board. The more talented growers or best vineyards might have been able to achieve ripeness and avoid problems from the rains, but others surely struggled.

2011 Harvest Report - Oregon (Looking good)

Weather: Late start to spring, followed by cool summer then warm fall.
Growing Conditions: Even as early as spring, it was obvious harvest would come late. Cool summer led to slower ripening but the warm days at the end during Sept/Oct were much needed.
Quality: Reports turned increasingly optimistic about the quality of the harvest as fall arrived
. Wines should be classically styled with higher acidity and complex flavors versus full-bodied and fruit-forward.


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