2013 Harvest & September Winegrowing Update

Wine grapes and leaves

Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Harvests

  • Fredrick's Vineyard Pinot Noir Clone 115 (8/29, 1.5 Tons, 23.7 ˚Brix, 3.59 pH, 6.51 TA) 
  • Gaps Crown Vineyard Chardonnay Clone 76 (9/14, 1.5 Tons, 25.1 ˚Brix, 3.38 pH, 6.3 TA) 
  • Robert's Rd Vineyard Chardonnay Clone 95 (9/20, 2.5 Tons, 24.8 ˚Brix, 3.47 pH, 5.55 TA) 
  • Robert's Rd Vineyard Pinot Noir Pommard (9/26, 2.5 Tons, 25.5 ˚Brix, 3.67 pH, 5.29 TA) 

All of our fruit is "in the barn" as we say. Fredrick's Pinot Noir is through primary and secondary fermentation and is safely in barrel. Both of our Chardonnay lots are also through primary fermentation, which only 50% or so we'll be allowed to complete secondary fermentation (MLF). We do this to preserve some of the bright malic acid. Our final Pinot Noir made it to the winery last Thursday and is still in tank finishing it's primary fermentation.

We had a great growing season for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay here in the Sonoma Coast / Petaluma Gap. I look forward to sharing a glass (or two) of it with all of you soon. If you haven't you secured your allocation yet, you can do it now here.

September Winegrowing Update

Winegrowing conditions throughout the month of September again experienced higher humidity under windier conditions. Mean temperatures and sunlight levels exceeded historical averages.

Regional average, high and low temperatures exceeded 10 year averages. September 2013 recorded diurnal temperature variations that were again lower than historical and recent averages. Solar radiation surpassed historical averages while simultaneously lagging 2009 and 2012 during September. Most mornings were clear and dry during the month allowing more sunlight to reach the canopy.

Humidity levels continued to be slightly higher than historical averages for the month of September. However, 2011 and 2012 exceeded the humidity levels experienced this September. Wind conditions held steady during September and exceeded the historical average for the month. The windier conditions in the region helped to alleviate mildew pressure dew to higher humidity.

The following detailed comparisons attempt to place September 2013’s weather conditions in context with historical averages. You can download the complete report here. 


Sonoma Coast / Petaluma Gap Wine Growing Temperature

The Petaluma Gap experienced mean daily and high temperatures that exceeded historical norms during the month of September. Both average high (78.3˚F) and low (48.9˚F) temperatures exceeded the previous 10 year average, resulting in diurnal temperature variations that were 1.24˚F lower than average.

Solar Radiation


Sonoma Coast / Petaluma Gap Wine Growing Solar Radiation

Solar radiation levels of 434 Ly/Day were 17.0 Ly/Day or 4.1% higher than average for the month of September. Unlike the marine layer that lingered almost until midday during July and August, the vines awoke to clear skies on most September mornings, allowing more sunlight to reach the vines.


Sonoma Coast / Petaluma Gap Wine Growing Wind

Wind speeds held steady in September and were greater than the previous 10 year average by 1.6%. The increased airflow throughout the region provided relief for the higher humidity.


Sonoma Coast / Petaluma Gap Wine Growing Humidity

September humidity levels were only slightly higher than historical averages by 2.2% (73%). Even though marine layers were negligible during the month, humidity levels remained higher than usual.


Although of supreme importance, weather, in and of itself, is only a single variable in a wine growing season. The resulting fruit quality when it arrives at the winery is determined by a myriad conditions such as timing of weather events, site micro-climates, geography/orientation, training/trellising, fruit set, canopy management, etc etc etc. 

This report is based on Petaluma Gap regional weather data obtained from the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) Petaluma East Station (144) and is meant to characterize general growing conditions for the region. It should not, in any way, be construed to represent the growing conditions for any one particular vineyard site.