Like it has for many California producers, harvest kicked off somewhat early for Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, though not as early as had originally been suspected.
“This year was marked by an uncharacteristically dry spring with higher-than-normal nighttime temperatures,” said Laetitia Viticulturist, Dave Terry. “The result was a mid-February bud break – almost three weeks earlier when compared to 2012 and 2013. The warmer-than-usual spring temperatures accelerated shoot growth, bloom, fruit set, and veraison.”
But just as many producers started to fear an uncomfortably early harvest, the conditions changed. “The last week of June, the weather turned gloomy and temperatures decreased, which, in turn, slowed the ripening process,” Terry said, which pushed the beginning of harvest of Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay for Laetitia’s sparkling wine program back to August 12. Pinot Noir for the sparkling program stayed on the vine longer, to help concentrate flavor.
“I saw [Sparkling Winemaker] Dave Hickey out in the sparkling wine blocks often, sampling the fruit. He was smiling the last time I saw him, which is a good sign.”
As for still wine, Pinot Noir fruit is nearing optimum ripeness and will most likely be harvested this week. “At this point,” said Terry, “we’re just trying our best to manage the interaction of sunlight, leaves, and soil water. Thankfully, our integrated pest management has been spot-on this year and the vineyard is looking very clean. Since we grow twelve different clones of Pinot Noir, each with a different growth habit, we’ll have our hands full over the coming weeks.”
Laetitia’s sister vineyard, the Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, lies on the eastern edge of Santa Barbara County and is also managed by the Laetitia vineyard team. Planted to a variety of Rhône, Bordeaux and Spanish varieties, the Highlands Vineyard contributes all of the fruit used in the NADIA Wines label.
“I’m really pleased with Highlands this year,” said Terry. “The climate has been very similar to that of 2013, which means we’ve been able to make some predictions and forecast in a way we weren’t able to in previous years.” Terry shared that, due to the similarity of growing conditions between 2013 and 2014, his team was able to make some favorable viticultural decisions that he is sure will show when NADIA wines are uncorked in several years. He predicted that harvest at Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard would also begin this week.
About Laetitia Vineyard & Winery
Since 1982, the Laetitia Vineyard & Winery has produced elegant wines that champion the exceptional character and diversity of the Arroyo Grande Valley AVA. Originally founded by an established French Champagne house, the Laetitia estate carries on in the longstanding traditions of Burgundy and Champagne with a focus on small-lot Pinot Noir and sparkling wines. Valuing legacy, balance, innovation, and sustainable practices from harvest to glass, the Laetitia team works meticulously from vintage to vintage to ensure that every bottle of Laetitia wine is as expressive as the land from which it originates. For more information about Laetitia Vineyard & Winery please call 805-481-1772, 1-888-809-VINE, or visit www.LaetitiaWine.com. Laetitia Vineyard & Winery is located at 453 Laetitia Vineyard Drive, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420.