Ned Neumiller | VITICULTURE DIRECTOR
The 2022 growing season is part of the new norm, showing more of the traits we’ve grown accustomed to over the last seven or eight years. Below average rainfall has been a major challenge for our region; a blessing and a curse. On the upside, it has trained our vines the art of moderation, both in terms of vigor and crop load. The curse is less fruit but that’s part of farming with Mother Nature.
Spring began normally, with bud break in March. Cold nights and mornings kept us on edge, however, as the threat of frost always does. Fortunately, we weathered the early growing season chill with minimal damage to our young shoots. The growing season progressed nicely into May, when we were met with water curtailments, something we’re getting used to around here. May through October, we could not pull water from our well near the Russian River. It was a critical test and the vineyard was very much up to the task.
The Seghesio team has always understood the importance of organic matter in the topsoil and built it into the wine growing program. We’ve upped organic matter percentages in the soils with the use of different cover crops, setting our sites up to better absorb and retain rainfall. Our vineyards fared well and we consider this a huge victory!
Harvest began slowly this year, with grapes beginning to trickle in from the usual sites in late August. We really kicked into gear in the first week of September, to the tune of a nice high-pressure weather system that gave us great working conditions. With the heat sticking around, things happened fast, and the vineyard team met the challenge in stride, per usual. Heat in early September is nothing new but this year it lingered for the better part of two weeks. By the 17th, some much-needed rain came and slowed the pace of things. Some 3/4”-2” of rain fell and you could practically hear the vineyards exhale. The precipitation allowed the vines to recover from heat-related stress, rebalance, and finish the season on a strong note.
On to building more organic matter in the soils, prepping for winter pruning season, and hopefully more rainfall!