As we continue to manage the impact of the pandemic situation on the human population, wine lovers can rest assured that this year’s Napa Valley grape production will be excellent. The growing season has progressed better than usual, and the harvest season will soon begin.
According to Wine Industry Advisor, Napa Valley experienced mild springtime weather this year, leading into a warm summer without any detrimental heat spikes. During August, as usual, the harvest will begin for the white varieties and will extend into late October and possibly early November when the thicker-skinned grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon are ready for picking.
Per long-standing tradition, many of the growers will first gather to bless the grapes and give thanks for the beautiful crop they are about to harvest.
Come to Napa Valley for the Harvest Season
Although some of the regular harvest season celebrations will be curtailed this year due to the pandemic, the beautiful weather is perfect for visitors to enjoy the many safe and healthy outdoor activities that make Napa Valley special. Visit the wineries, enjoy a wine tasting while practicing safe distancing, observe the harvest procedures, hike and bike the many trails, and even float gently above the valley floor in one of the hot air balloon rides Napa Valley.
The Napa Valley Wine Harvest Sequence
Not all grapes are harvested at once. Each variety matures and ripens at different times based on the variety, location, elevation, prevailing microclimates, exposure to the sun, soil types, wind conditions, moisture, and other elements. Napa Valley conditions vary even between neighboring vineyards, so picking will occur at different times.
Generally, however, Napa Valley harvests begin in the following sequence:
- Sparkling Wines: Generally, Chardonnay grapes from the cooler Carneros Region are first to reach their ideal level of maturity.
- Sauvignon Blanc and other Aromatic Whites: Also including Riesling, Pinot Grigio, and Chenin Blanc, these grapes tend to mature early and require less heat and time to reach their ideal acid/sugar ratio.
- Pinot Noir: The first of the red varieties to be ready for harvest, Pinot Noir grapes attain their ideal balance of sugars and acids during the late summer.
- Other Early Reds: Following the Pinot Noir harvest, other reds, including Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah, Sangiovese, and Cabernet Franc, are ready. These vines flower earlier and reach their optimum potential sooner than Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Cabernet Sauvignon: The volume leader of all wine varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon is harvested later than most of the others. Each vineyard work on different harvest schedules since the microclimates and soil varieties vary considerably throughout the Valley. For some, the harvest may even last until mid-November to achieve the best attributes possible.
Enjoy Hot Air Balloon Rides Napa Valley-style for Safe and Healthy Outdoor Activities
Even now, during the pandemic, you can enjoy the many safe and healthy outdoor activities while observing the harvest activities in Napa Valley. The best opportunity to witness Napa Valley in all its late summer glory is to soar aloft in one of our Balloons Above the Valley hot air balloon rides Napa Valley-style. From your safe and quiet perspective high above the Valley floor, you can witness all the activity as it occurs throughout the vineyards.
For information and reservations about your upcoming trip to Napa Valley for your safe and healthy outdoor activities, visit the Balloons Above the Valley website.
Or, phone Balloons Above the Valley to inquire about their balloon rides Napa Valley at 1-800-464- 6824.