The 2015 Growing Season
The 2015 vintage was characterized by an early and warm growing season with low yields producing fruit of exceptional quality. Still in the midst of the several year drought, the vineyard benefited from heavy rains in December of 2014 and February 2015 which provided enough ground water to start the season off at full field capacity. A large number of growing degree days in February resulted in an early bud break and pushed us into an early bloom. From June until the end of the season, temperatures were above normal. With the lighter crop, the vines experienced rapid sugar loading. Harvest began on September 7th and finished on September 16th.
The 2014 Growing Season
Another dry year with only 25” rainfall during the growing season
February and March 2014 rainfall was 11 and 17” which saturated the soils before bud break. Overall rainfall was 55% of normal.
Atelier Melka started harvesting sauvignon blanc August 8th in Yountville and finished the harvest in 2014 October 16th in Howell Mountain. Overall, 2014 was one of the earliest harvests, even slightly earlier than 2004 as harvest began August 13th.
Jim Barbour stated about 2014: “ the earliest end of harvest ever - finishing mid October”
Rainfall was very low during the growing season but the events happened at a perfect timing.The temperatures from March to June were 3 to 5 degree higher than normal and so the vines had a strong and fast start resulting of a very healthy canopy, great maturity and large crop.
Growing degree days in 2014 was the highest since 1977:
We had about 7 days above 100F, 2 days in September, the 1st and 12th and 2 days in October , the 5th and 12th. Those warm temperatures resulted high sugar content in the must , similar to the 2013 vintage.
This vintage should be a strong one for Napa in general with the reds having deep color, rich and sweet flavors and strong sophisticated tannins.
The 2013 Growing Season
The 2013 growing season was warm and dry with very low rainfall following the December storms. After several years of having a later bud break, this year was more of a normal year for vines to come out of dormancy (bud break 4/3-4/8). Due to the lack of spring rains, especially in March, water management and ground cultivation was closely monitored and started earlier this year. Early seasons irrigations around bud break combined with early season fertilizers helped push consistent shoot growth throughout the vineyard. Due to the warm spring we saw bloom two weeks earlier than normal (5/15). Weather was perfect during fruit set and the vines set a generous crop allowing us to work with plenty of fruit and gave us the ability to thin the crop load accordingly. The season continued to stay warm during the berry formation and berry ripening periods and harvest started 9/27 in blocks 1 and 3C. Harvest continued until 10/27 and finished in block 2A.
The 2012 Growing Season
The 2012 vintage experienced a dry spring, summer and fall, with ideal weather during the bloom and good weather during fruit maturation. The grapes were harvested between 10/19 and 10/22, before the first fall rains.
Overall the vineyard produced 10.5 tons of grapes of which only 6.4 tons were used to make the Zakin Estate.