Russian River Valley
Many winemakers are hailing the 2018 vintage as a return to “normal”. Bracketed by two years of rising temperatures and destructive wildfires in 2017 and 2019, 2018 was comparatively calm, cool, and late.
The year began with a relatively warm February before giving way to a cold spring and moderate growing conditions throughout the season. A cooler spring often means that the bloom period is extended and can leave an opening for interrupting fruit set with late showers. However, despite a couple of incidents elsewhere in the state, Sonoma County was left relatively untouched.
The moderate temperatures continued into harvest allowing for full phenolic ripeness to develop and the luxury of picking the grapes when they were mature rather than trying to beat the heat. Most areas report picking 2-3 weeks later than recent vintages and winemakers are expecting the 2018 wines to showcase as one of the best vintages in the twenty-teens. Keep an eye out for the wines and compare them to the other banner years of the decade, 2012 and 2016, to see what the best vintages of the past ten years have to offer.