Winemaker Todd Graff’s Pre-Harvest Thoughts

The growing season began with big rain storms at the end of Fall 2021, which filled our reservoirs and kicked off the 2022 vintage with a consistent water supply. A few areas of Napa were affected by late Spring frosts and hailstorms, but thankfully Frank Family did not see any notable damage to our vineyards throughout Rutherford, Carneros, or Capell Valley.

Summer has brought warm, sunny days, but no extreme heat. Forecasted increased temperatures throughout August and into September are expected to help the fruit ripen beautifully, and Frank Family Winemaker Todd Graff anticipates an early harvest this year. Todd estimates 2022 crop sizes will be lighter than average, but canopies throughout Frank Family’s vineyards look good, and he expects to have a higher yield than the 2021 vintage.

Veraison began in July, and Frank Family’s estate vineyards are currently at varying stages of coloring. The Sangiovese planted at the top of our iconic estate vineyard, Winston Hill, is what the winemaking team refers to as the “indicator block” for Rutherford as it is usually the first to ripen and is currently about 90% through veraison, as is the Pinot Noir at our estate Lewis Vineyard in Carneros. The Cabernet Sauvignon in Rutherford is less than 50% colored at this time, so has a way to go. Overall, Frank Family is looking forward to an exceptional harvest in 2022 – the uniformity across varieties is good, the Cabernet is well balanced, and everything looks nice and healthy.

Todd expects harvest to begin in the middle of August for Frank Family’s sparkling wines. Lewis Vineyard’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir will likely be picked in the beginning of September, before ending with Benjamin Vineyard and Winston Hill for Cabernet Sauvignon in Rutherford at the end of September.

“As I enter my 20th harvest at Frank Family Vineyards, I continue to be incredibly proud to be making wine in the Napa Valley,” say Todd. “Napa is, and always has been, at the forefront of winemaking innovation. Through advance knowledge of our soils and atmospheric influences, along with advancements in tractors, sorters and de-stemmers, we are able to farm and produce higher quality fruit and wines year after year. Napa is filled with a lot of good people trying to make great wine, and that passion is infectious and constantly bringing new talent and new ideas to the valley. The way I see it, Napa’s potential for 2022 and beyond continues to be limitless.”