It is October and I have once again fully re-installed myself at the winery in Lompoc. The past two months has seen a remarkable warm and clear end to the summer. After three of the coldest years on recent memory in California (2009-2011) this year has been a welcome to return a normal or warmer than normal vintage.
Many winemakers began picking Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from the warmer parts of Sta. Rita Hills in the second week of September. Up through September it had really been an ideal growing season: a cool spring, but no frost, a warm summer with no massive heat spikes and ideal conditions for harvest. The last day of September and first day of October did finally see 100˚temperatures inland and 90˚’s near the coast.
So far we have brought in about half of our harvest for 2012. All of our Pinot Noir from Radian vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills is in the winery. There were only 4 tons of Pinot Noir from our 3.5 acres at Radian. It is chilly spot and cool, windy weather during April flowering affected the fruit set. We have also harvested 2 of our 5 Syrah sites: Harrison-Clarke in Santa Ynez Valley and Watch Hill in the cooler Los Alamos Valley. Both the Syrahs have less overall acidity than the past few vintages and flesh and body due to the warm summer.
If the next few weeks hold up with no rain and lots of sunshine it should continue to be a very good vintage here in Santa Barbara County!