Despite a second consecutive year of drought, and nerve-racking memories of some similar challenges in 2015, the 2021 Napa Valley growing season produced what are proving to be great wines. Yields were tiny for the most part, because many vineyards just didn’t have the water resources to develop the full canopy necessary to ripen a typical load of fruit. You really had to be paying attention to get fruit to the finish line in good shape, but the reward was excellent quality across the board: small berries teeming with tannin and flavor.
The lack of groundwater to mitigate irrigation was naturally a chief concern. Our solution was not to keep dumping water on the vineyards, but to make fairly merciless thinning passes. Thankfully, farming on the Mt. Veeder Estate has always been meticulous with a philosophy of “Quality, Quality, Quality,” so no one balks at putting half the fruit on the ground if that’s what is called for. It’s a process of following a vine-by-vine directive.