California reports “exceptional quality” for 2016 vintage

The Californian Wine Institute is reporting “a mostly normal yield of exceptional quality fruit throughout the state” from the 2016 harvest.

The state enjoyed a relatively even growing season following winter rains that helped to alleviate earlier drought conditions.

The vintage was acclaimed by Wine Institute president and chief executive Robert Koch who said: “Another high quality California vintage is great news for wine consumers who continue to drive sales of Golden State wines to record levels.”

Marcus Notaro, winemaker at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa, said: “Although bud break in Napa Valley was early this year, it’s been a cooler season.

“We didn’t get the normal high heat in July and August, which provided for a longer hang time for the grapes. Overall, quality is high.”

Randy Ullom, winemaster at Kendall-Jackson Wines, which has vineyards in Sonoma County and statewide, added: “It’s been a good season so far. The grapes are in great condition, showcasing spectacular flavours.”

Adam Mettler, director of winemaking at Michael David Winery in Lodi, said: “The harvest pace was steady and extremely level with little peaks of chaos.

“Small heat spikes followed by fairly moderate weather pushed sugars up in vineyards where needed and then allowed time for growers and wineries to get fruit off in a timely manner, without major fruit breakdown or raisining.

“Fruit looks exceptional so far – probably the cleanest Zinfandel crop I have seen in some time.”