Since my wine career began, I found the cycles of the growing season to be endlessly fascinating. I grew up in the Northeast, where the seasons were always marked by stark differences and an eagerness to experience each one. The Northern California wine growing climate still showcases these cycles, however subtle in changes. This year has been no different. While we are still plagued by low rainfall, we received some wet weather in the spring which delayed the onset of water restrictions slightly from the 2021 growing season.
I love years when we do not receive the extreme heat at the end of June that lasts through July – the BBQs are much more suited to enjoying Zinfandel! The cool nights in July led into a moderate first week of August and we have found that our predicted harvest dates have shifted back to the more familiar late August/early September. I have also learned that although I may miss the rain, I really hope for it to hold off until after harvest is over to allow us to pick the grapes at their peak maturity and free from botrytis, mildew, and mold.
These seasonal cycles are reflected in the winery with racking and blending in the spring, and summertime bottling to make way for the new vintage. There are also a myriad of logistics to contend with; the simple planning of years past – set your start date and assume all goes to schedule – has yielded to building in cushions to allow for delays of packaging goods, transit delays, and potential labor shortages. We are thankful to be on schedule this season due to our adept planning, forethought, and incredibly efficient crew.
The long-term annual cycles are even more fascinating. While managing what is in front of us, we are also thinking years into the future by planning which vineyards to plant next, and to what variety and orientation. We think about climate trends, consumer trends, the labor market, and how to ensure that we are making wines that express all the unique aspects of our vineyards tomorrow and five to 25 years into the future. After all, we are harvesting grapes in 2022 that resulted from ideas, experience, and dedication of the five generations of the Seghesio family that came before us!
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