Harvest Update: Olives And Grapes

We're still in the midst of harvesting olives, but we thought this would be a good time to do an update on how the 2019 harvest has been going here at McEvoy Ranch. I spoke with our Director of Ranch Operations, Ria D'Aversa, who summed up the harvest in three words: warm and dry. That seems to be the case throughout the Northern California wine growing regions, and even though we're in the Petaluma Gap region, one of the coolest in wine country, we still experienced night time temperatures as much as ten degrees warmer than last year. We've had no rain so far, whereas last year we experienced at least 2 inches of rain in October. These conditions of course have been the source of concern regarding the fires and power outages we've been experiencing again this year. What this translates to with grapes is slightly earlier picks, about a week ahead of last year on average, with slightly lower acidity but good balance, structure, and backbone, particularly with our clone 115 Pinot Noir in the Azaya vineyard. In fact, we've seen more distinct differences in flavors and character in the five Pinot Noir clones we have planted at Azaya, and we're looking forward to seeing how they each develop as finished wines. We saw good, healthy vineyard yields this year, about 45 tons, which is somewhat surprising given the very large crop we had in 2018. Ripening was even and steady, resulting in fully developed fruit flavors with none of the vegetal or herbal notes that can develop in cool years. We've harvested about 100 tons of the approximately 120 tons of olives we expect to pick this year. That's a nice, normal harvest for us, and the quality of the oil we're seeing is very high. The warm, dry weather has resulted in more peppery notes in the oil, with concentrated flavors particularly in the Frantoio olive variety. An interesting note is that Orchard 1, our first orchard to be planted at the ranch, was our strongest performer this year. If you're interested in seeing how olive harvest works, we're hosting an Olio Nuovo Experience on December 7th. You'll get to help harvest olives, experience the milling of the Olio Nuovo, enjoy a farmstead lunch featuring the oil you just pressed, and take some home with you at the end of the day!