Mendocino harvest gearing back up

As with other wine grape growing areas, the cool spell that descended upon California a few weeks ago slowed harvest in Mendocino County as well.

“We’re getting back up to speed,” says John Enquist, president and CEO of the Mendocino Winegrape and Wine Commission. “We’re probably about 60 percent finished at this point.”

In terms of yield and quality, it’s the same song almost everyone else across the state is singing.

“Chardonnay yields are down,” Enquist says. “Pinot Noir and other varieties are also down in some areas. But overall, the quality is excellent. If the weather remains nice, I think we’ll be finished with harvest by the end of October.”

Growers in Mendocino County are also worried about water. “It’s a big issue,” Enquist says. “There are definitely growers out there who wished they had more of it. I would guess that post harvest irrigations are going to be cut by about 10-15 percent.”

There will continue to be some grafting over to other varietals, particularly growers who have Merlot, according to Enquist.

“It’s an odd thing,” he says. “I don’t know if it was the effect the movie ‘Sideways’ had on Merlot or what, but growers are having a tough time moving that one. What makes it really confusing is the fact that consumers seem to still be buying Merlot. Somewhere in the chain, it’s not translating – at least not right now.”

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