With Laetitia Vineyard & Winery’s harvest wrapped up, President and Head Winemaker, Eric Hickey, projects that wines from 2013 will be “big, rich, intensely colored and balanced.”
“Each harvest is like anticipating a new baby’s arrival and this year’s harvest was no exception,” Hickey shares, “except it was like anticipating the arrival of a baby elephant! We had a pretty good idea the crop was big, but you never know until you start picking and sure enough it was every bit the size we thought, plus some.”
Like most California vineyards, Laetitia experienced early ripening this year, which made for long hang-time and fully matured flavors as well as logistical challenges– in other words, a fantastic problem to have.
“We have handled large harvests before, but the difference this year is that many of the blocks were stacked up on each other in terms of ripening,” says Hickey. “So, the effort to get everything picked in a timely manner and more importantly, to have the fermentation space to handle the crop was immense. But we pulled it off, somehow.”
Vice President Vineyard Operations, Lino Bozzano, is quick to dispel the notion that large yields result in less-than-spectacular wines. “The old misconception in the wine business is that the larger the yield, the worse the wine. But the truth is that yield, or ‘tons per acre,’ means nothing. There are many factors contributing to yield. The key to growing the best wine is balancing all of the factors or vine balance.”
“The main factors that control actual yield are the cluster weights,” Bozzano explains. “This year, our grapes simply weighed more than average. Nobody knows why this happens – it’s just a part of farming that remains a mystery. Ironically, some of the best vintages are the years that have these ‘mystery yields.’”
Hickey concurs. “Once we started draining the first tanks and tasting the wine, we knew immediately there was no concern about a big crop affecting the quality of the wines. Big, rich, intensely colored and balanced wines have come from the vintage. This goes for both Laetitia and Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard. We are very pleased.”