How’s the 2015 vintage looking? Myles walks the vineyards…

A few years from now when everyone is sitting back with a glass of wine and relaxing as our automaton-future-servants do all of our work for us (because that’s what the future’s going to look like, right?) how will we remember the 2015 vintage? Will the winemakers sing its praise as the new standard of great vintages, or will they be lamenting the woes of the poor farmer, ever subject to a pernicious and unforgiving mother nature?
Well, as it turns out, maybe both. In our fourth year of drought the coastal vineyards in western Sonoma County are still enjoying increased sunlight hours while still being cool enough to not be too seriously affected by the water shortage. Vineyards in general are not thirsty crops (many in Sonoma are even dry-farmed) and coastal vineyards enjoy extra atmospheric moisture and milder temperatures. So the quality will be good.

The issue is quantity. The 2015 spring was an incredibly cold one with frost events in many parts of Sonoma. The cold weather combined with a late rain meant a very high incidence of what’s called “shatter”: where developing berries fail to fertilize during flowering and eventually shrivel and drop from the cluster. Some vineyards in the western part of the county are expecting yields of 50% less than 2014.


Walking Hillcrest with Paul Sloan of Small Vines
So overall the wine will be good. In fact the lighter crop will mean a greater concentration of flavor. There just won’t be a lot of it. So get it while you can before those prices start soaring. 2015 will be special not only for its quality but for its rarity.