Each year at the end of summer, the Napa Valley comes alive with the excitement and rush of harvest. After months of careful nurturing and observation, winemakers all over the valley finally give the word, “it’s time.”
Grapes for sparkling wines are the first to be picked, usually in early August, marking the start of "crush". Next, most of the white wines make their way from the vineyard to the crush pad.
Harvest continues through late October – sometimes early November – for red varieties, as they take a bit longer to reach full maturation. Harvesting of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in the Napa Valley begins later than most other varieties and typically lasts the longest.
Late-harvest wines are made from grapes left on the vine longer than usual, allowing them to get riper and produce more highly concentrated sugars. Harvesting of these grapes can last until December.
The conclusion of harvest leads into Cabernet Season, where the winemakers can finally take a moment to relax and appreciate the fruits of their labor.
Get the play-by-play on the 2017 harvest from our friends at the Napa Valley Vintners
Take part in the tradition of celebrating harvest. Join us at a Napa Valley harvest party!
This year, instead of spending your weekend just wine tasting, why not stain your hands (or feet) purple like a real winemaker?
Vineyard crews work morning and night throughout the vineyards to deliver the year's crop to the crushpads
Harvest workers sort the grapes, removing leaves, twigs, bugs, unripe and damaged fruit
After crushing and pressing, the grapes ferment on their skins - this process can last days to a month
The wine is finally set to age in barrels or steel tanks - this process can last months to years