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. The Policy Estate Vineyard fared the best of the three Pulido~Walker estate properties in this respect. As a valley floor site, it doesn’t experience the runoff we see in hillside locations, and the vines here are more mature, with more developed root systems. Additionally, 2021 highlighted a significant difference between cane-pruned and cordon-pruned vines. The Policy Estate Vineyard is cordon pruned, and those vines tend to warehouse more resources, giving them an advantage in challenging years.