Reflecting on the 2018 Harvest

A week after the last grapes destined for Frank Family Vineyards arrived to the winery, Winemaker, Todd Graff is finally able to take a step back and reflect on his fifteenth harvest with us.

After a later start than previous years, we began harvesting in earnest in mid-September and did not take a break from the action until early November. Even the weeks leading up to harvest were action-packed as we awaited the arrival of fruit. We finished bottling our latest vintages and made tank space for the new grapes. Meanwhile the warm temperatures of late August helped our grapes transition from veraison to full ripeness.

Cooler temperatures in early September eased us into this year’s harvest season. Foggy mornings and moderate afternoons ensured plenty of hang time, ideal for developing concentrated flavors and maintaining the grape’s natural acidity. The cool weather continued into October where a welcomed but brief period of rain provided us with time to finish processing our Chardonnay, Zinfandel, and Merlot. Finally, in mid-October we picked our first lot of Winston Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. We brought the remaining fruit of 2018 to the crush pad the second week of November and our team exchanged a collective sigh of relief.

As the holiday season approaches and Thanksgiving draws near, we’re feeling extra thankful for the gifts Mother Nature gave us this year. With the 2018 vintage now safely in our cellar, we think it’s safe to say it will be exceptional. While we’re happy to reflect on a year’s work, we’re certainly going to miss the daily bustle on the crush pad, all coming together with one goal in mind – to produce another vintage of the finest wine from our vineyard fruit possible.

“The 2018 vintage is a ‘goldilocks’ vintage in every sense of the phrase. The excellent weather lasted from fruit set through harvest and allowed for maximum hanging time for the grapes. It was a bountiful harvest, so much so that we had to shoe horn all the grapes into the winery. But what is quantity without quality? Thankfully this vintage delivered in that department as well. The reds have terrific colors and the chards have beautiful acids. We’re pleased, especially following the challenging 2017 vintage. I’m happy to have a vintage like 2018 to commemorate my 15th harvest with Frank Family Vineyards.” – Winemaker, Todd Graff

2018 Frank Family Harvest Timeline:

September 19 – Harvest arrives with the first batches of Carneros Pinot Noir and Chardonnay fruit

September 21 – Merlot is harvested from Winston Hill

September 26 – Sangiovese is harvested from Winston Hill

October 1 – First lot of Cabernet is picked. Finished processing all the Pinot Noir, 50% complete with Chardonnay, and 30% complete with total harvest

October 15 – Started harvesting Winston Hill Cabernet

November 5 – Enter last week of harvest with fruit from Benjamin and S&J Vineyards