Red Winemaker Steve Peck shares his thoughts on an early harvest
Harvest is the most challenging time of the year to snag time away from any winemaker. However, Red Winemaker Steve Peck took five minutes from his busy day to reflect on the 2014 vintage and how harvest is progressing in Paso Robles.
Where is the Paso wine region in harvest?
The early and mid-ripening varieties, such as Syrah and Merlot, are all wrapped up at this point. We are over half way through harvesting Cabernet Sauvignon and we have just started Petit Verdot and Zinfandel.
How far away is the end of harvest for red varieties, and, most importantly, Cabernet?
The earliest blocks of Cabernet started the last week of September and we expect harvest on the latest blocks from the cooler areas on heavy soil to begin as early as October 15th. In other words, we are in the thick of it right now.
Was there anything challenging or unusual about the 2014 harvest?
It has been an interesting year, as most harvesting is approximately two solid weeks earlier than normal this year. The low winter rainfall and early budbreak really set the stage for this early vintage.
What are yields like this year?
Yields have been favorable for 2014 in Paso Robles with most ranches are in the range of four to five tons per acre.
Anything else you’d like to say about the harvest and/or wines you’re expecting from 2014, especially Cabernet?
Cabernet shows very well in dry years. The canes lignify early and flavors shift from to the vegetal range to the fruity spectrum early in the season. We have been tasting fruit since veraison, when half the fruit is still green in color and has been struck by the early showing of raspberry and cherry flavors that developed early.
And with that, Steve was dashing out the door to check in on the next gondola of Cabernet that would be arriving at the winery in a few minutes.