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Crush Update: Week 9

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Posted: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 10:22 am | Updated: 11:19 am, Tue Oct 19, 2010.

Sunday afternoon's rain amounted to about a quarter inch - not enough to spoil this excellent vintage. And while a chance of rain approaching over the next few days doesn't worry Lodi much, Napa and Sonoma growers with maybe a third of their best grapes still hanging are "kicking harvest into overdrive" this week.

Illustrating how bad the 2010 vintage has been elsewhere in California's North Coast, Sonoma's The Press Democrat ran a story with a headline, "Best to be said about 2010 is it's almost over."

Sonoma has been hit by early-season mildew, significant raisining and lower prices for grapes as a result of the recession. The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission mentioned that Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are attracting offers of $500 to $700 a ton, closing in on Lodi's average of under $500.

Assuming just about all Lodi white winegrapes and Merlot have been picked, along with 90% of Zin and 75% of Cabernet, then we should be about 95% done with Lodi's 2010 harvest.

For that remaining 5%, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast models show that rainfall for October should be normal, which could amount to another half an inch through month end. But as long as spurts of sprinkles are followed by warm, breezy days, hanging fruit should squeak by with excellent quality.

The 9th consecutive week of Lodi picking brought in mostly warmer-climate winegrapes on which Lodi is building a reputation:

Bokisch pulled in their Clements Oaks Vineyard Petite Sirah for Michael-David's Petite Petit, while Harney Lane and Estate Crush also took in Petite. Bokisch's Belle Colline Vineyard Barbera and Syrah went to d'Art Wines.

Estate Crush also crushed Golden Muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Souzao - a prized Portuguese varietal normally used in Port - as well as Borra Vineyards Viognier at 26˚ Brix.

Rounding out the week, Borra harvested their 47.5˚ block of Syrah from Gill Creek Ranch, Van Ruiten picked their Home Ranch Old Vine Zin at 26˚ Brix, and St. Jorge Winery picked their Alicante Bouschet - one of the few grapes with juice that bleeds red instead of white.

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