WINE COUNTRY PRESS
Media Contact: Christopher Taranto
WARM WEATHER PREDICTIONS KEEP PASO ROBLES WINEMAKERS AND GROWERS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT 2007 VINTAGE
New Sustainable Practices Incorporated in Vineyards and Wineries
PASO ROBLES, CA (September 25, 2007) - The wine grape harvest is underway and nearly 25 percent complete across Paso Robles Wine Country despite recent cool weather. Picking activities began across the region the third week in August, which is estimated to be two weeks earlier than average. A heat spike began just before and lasted through Labor Day Weekend, which jumpstarted growersâ€™ harvest activity levels bringing in mostly white wine grapes. Last weekâ€™s recent cooling trend gave ominous predictions; however this weekâ€™s warm days (low to mid 80s) and cools nights extends the fruitâ€™s hang time to ensure full flavor development. Paso Robles winemakers and growers predict lighter yields and a high quality 2007 vintage.
"Cluster bunch weights are below normal," said Dana Merrill, President of Mesa Vineyard Management, Inc. and owner of Pomar Junction Vineyard. "This should translate into high quality wines, with good intensity."
White varietals, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Chardonnay have mostly been harvested through Paso Robles vineyards. Many vineyards began harvesting Syrah and Merlot in early September, but activity has slowed as the temperature cooled this past week. "The ripening process is as good as I've ever experienced," notes Cindy Newkirk, owner and grower, Steinbeck Vineyards. "Once the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes reach maturity, harvest will be fast and furious." Cabernet Sauvignon represents 38 percent of the total varieties grown in the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA).
Among the attributes that make the Paso Robles AVA a world-class region for wine grape production is the long, consistent growing season. The regionâ€™s various microclimates make it conducive to grow more than 40 different varietals within 26,000 bearing vineyard acres. At the time of this release harvest is expected to extend through the end of October and into early November.
Sustainable Practices In Motion
The Paso Robles growing region is at the forefront of incorporating sustainable growing techniques into the vineyard and the 2007 growing season has seen another strategy added to the mix. Paso Robles growers report an increased use of beneficial insects, which reduces the amount of miticidal sprays used in the vineyard. Through the Biologically Integrated Farming Systems program driven by the Paso Robles based Central Coast Vineyard Team, many Paso Robles vineyards are using beneficial insects who feed on mites that can damage vineyards. This strategy aids in the reduction of pesticide use and promotes a healthy soil base.
Although watershed management, other vegetation usage, and alternative fuel (to name a few) are becoming a mainstay in the Paso Robles vineyards, many wineries are continuing to find new conservation practices to incorporate into their operations. More and more wineries of all production sizes are converting to solar power throughout Paso Robles.
"The wine community is among the leaders of environmental stewardship," said Stacie Jacob, Executive Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. "The Paso Robles wine community prides itself on practicing sustainability and balancing the environment, social and economic responsibilities."
The Central Coast Vineyard Team and California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance are organizations dedicated to helping the industry understand the benefits of sustainable winegrowing practices, which includes self assessments among wine growers and vintners to proactively monitor sustainability in the wine business.
The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance represents wineries, growers and businesses in Paso Robles Wine Country. Centrally located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, along Californiaâ€™s Central Coast, Paso Robles Wine Country is Californiaâ€™s fastest growing wine region. It encompasses more than 26,000 vineyard acres and more than 170 wineries. For more information, visit www.pasowine.com
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