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From Behind the Tasting Bar for December 2010/January 2011

2010 Harvest: Santa Cruz Mountains Growers and Winemakers Weigh In

By Cynthia Bournellis

Jeff Emery, winemaker, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, looks through a refractometer to check the degree of Brix in Cabernet Sauvignon grapes from Luchessi Vineyard in Cupertino. (Cynthia Bournellis)The 2010 harvest in California has been the question on the minds of tasting room customers asking how this year’s crop will fair. To keep them abreast, I spent most of October talking to winemakers and grape growers in the Santa Cruz Mountains to get their take on things. Their consensus: the 2010 vintage is not doomed. In fact, the vintage holds much promise: acids are high and sugar levels are good, so the wines should be nicely balanced.

Cooler temperatures this year are one reason acids are up. Cooler weather, however, had growers and winemakers dancing around harvest, as temperatures fluctuated erratically. Winter rains lingered into spring, and brisk temps dominated summer. Fall was a mix of hot and cold snaps, with heat spikes in late September and mid-October, followed by intermittent rains through Halloween.

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