It wasn’t exactly a bonus year for all vineyards around the state, but the stretch of Highway 101 between Paso Robles and Salinas on the California Central Coast escaped most of the problems encountered by other areas.
“Harvest turned out good for both quality and quantity,” says Jason Smith, vineyard manager with Paraiso Vineyards in Soledad, Calif. “We managed to miss most of the weather events for the year.”
However, no one on the coast missed the October frost. Paraiso experienced five days of below freezing weather for long durations. “It mostly hit Cabernet crops that weren't able to come off immediately due to a lack of tank space at the wineries. A short Cab crop got shorter.” Merlot was off for the most part. Chardonnay was pretty good and Pinot was OK, according to Smith.
The 2008 vintage is looking good, according to Paraiso’s winemaker David Fleming, “Quality of the fruit is exceptional,” he says.
The early frost could impact the crop next year. “It put some vineyards to sleep earlier than we wanted,” Smith says. “The opportunity to store carbohydrates for the winter and do postseason nutrition additions just didn't happen. Hopefully it won't effect bud differentiation for next year.
“Mother Nature was nicer to us than some of our friends in other regions. The outlook for the industry looks good. The biggest concern will be the potential for being short next year and eventually losing shelf space to imports that are prepared to fill those slots.”