This harvest season marked Winemaker, Todd Graff’s 20th vintage at Frank Family Vineyards. The 2022 harvest was prosperous but not without its challenges. In both the vineyard and in the cellar, our team adapted quickly to Mother Nature’s whimsy, from a heat wave in September to rain in October. But with the wines now safely tucked away in their barrels, it’s time to reflect on this memorable harvest.
An Early Start
Harvest 2022 was a challenging yet rewarding year. The 2022 growing season began two weeks earlier than usual with bud break first occurring on February 28 in our Lewis Vineyard in Carneros. This was due in part to a warmer than average winter. As spring came along, an unprecedented hailstorm came with it. The storm, along with freezing temperatures and frost affected some areas in Napa, but fortunately Frank Family did not see any impact in our vineyards. The temperatures throughout the summer months were mild with veraison beginning in July.
A Compressed Yet Fruitful Harvest
As with bud break, harvest this year was also early. From the beginning, Todd predicted it to be an early year, but a heat spike in early September expedited harvest and compressed it into just a few short weeks. Our team kicked off the harvest season at our estate Lewis Vineyard in Carneros by picking Chardonnay grapes for our sparkling wines on August 18, and one week later we picked grapes for our still Chardonnays on August 24. Cabernet Sauvignon wrapped up the season with the last bin of grapes coming to the winery on October 14 from our estate S&J Vineyard in Napa’s Capell Valley. Although our overall yields are lighter than previous years, the berry size and the quality of the fruit are excellent.
Each harvest at Frank Family Vineyards begins with the blessing of the grapes. On August 25, our entire team, from production to the tasting room gathered to christen the first batch of our Lewis Vineyard Pinot Noir as well as toast to Todd’s milestone year with a bottle of Frank Family’s sparkling Brut Rosé.
Our newest team member of the Frank Family winemaking team this year was Harvest Intern, Marco Malaffo. A skilled Pizziaolo with a degree in oenology, he came all the way from Verona, Italy to work with and learn from Todd this harvest season. Every harvest, Todd selects one to a few interns from all over the world to help the winemaking team during our busiest time of the year. As someone who got his start in winemaking as a harvest intern in Australia followed by Germany and Bordeaux, Todd is a big proponent of paying it forward and investing in the next generation of winemakers with an amazing internship opportunity.
Todd’s Final Thoughts
The 2022 vintage is one of the more unique vintages in recent history thanks to the full range of weather we witnessed throughout the growing season. Todd is seeing beautiful acidity in the Chardonnay and outstanding structure and vibrant color in the red wines. “I am particularly excited about the Lewis Vineyard Chardonnay, Beckstoffer’s Georges III Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and the fruit from our S&J Vineyard in Capell Valley,” says Todd. “S&J is always a reliably great vineyard for us, but this year the fruit was of spectacular quality.”
After the challenges and triumphs of the 2022 growing season, Todd and his winemaking team are feeling grateful for the return of a slower pace as the wines begin to age in our cellar. We are incredibly excited to share the fruits of our labors with you beginning with the release of the Leslie Rosé in the early spring.