It’s a three-peat! With the majority of Imagery’s fruit harvested, Joe Benziger proclaims we have three outstanding vintages in a row: “In all my years of winemaking, the Sonoma County vintages from 2012-2014 are the best consecutive years I have ever seen. From Upper Ridge to Sunny Slope, all grapes from the different appellations look spectacular. Until now, the only true three-peat I had ever experienced was with my Yankees.”
We are often asked how the drought is affecting the 2014 harvest. Water has not been an issue for us with the new technology we’re employing to monitor and manage our irrigations. However, we are in dire need of rain and have our fingers crossed that El Niño hits California. The latest climate analysis show the conditions for El Niño are developing. This year’s late rains were timed perfectly to start the growing season off with a full soil profile.
2014 was warmer than the previous two vintages, but the grapes were mercifully spared from extended heat spells. This warmth is why the harvest started so early. Our first pick occurred on August 30th, which is about two weeks ahead of normal. We harvested some beautiful Sauvignon Blanc farmed at about 2500 feet in our Upper Ridge Vineyard. Joe likes to call this site “the top of the world”. It was a record size crop for the Sauvignon Blanc that will be used in Wow Oui.
The Upper Ridge vineyard is home to 11 of Imagery’s varietals and crucial to the production of our worldly reds. The first red varietal harvested from Upper Ridge was Malbec on September 11th. The barrel tasting of the 2012 Upper Ridge Malbec got rave reviews, but this vintage looks even better. Later in the week we picked Tempranillo, Grenache, Teroldego and Lagrein. All of these loads were on par or above normal yields.
The atmosphere around harvest is always electric whether it’s the highways filled with trucks hauling precious cargo, massive lights illuminating the vineyards at night, or the chaotic hustle of the crushpad. Imagery’s diverse portfolio of rare varietals has our team constantly juggling different strategies to ensure that each wine is harvested under the optimal conditions. Tonight Friday Sept 19th, we are doing our last Sunny Slope pick, so drive by Imagery and you will see the action from the highway. This harvest is extremely condensed, so we are going through the gauntlet of experiences and emotions at warp speed!