Teachworth Napa Valley 2001:
Spring came early to the Napa Valley in 2001. March was hot and dry like the summer heat spikes that followed. The snow melted fast in the Sierras and bud break occurred at Teachworth Napa Valley on the first day of spring. April brought a surprise return to winter weather with temperatures dipping to lows near, or below, freezing. Our vineyards are naturally well-protected against frosts so we survived with nothing more than a slight blush on the ends of our leaves. A return to more pleasant weather soon cured that.
Grape-set came around the first week of May. Summer brought cloudless mornings and hot, dry afternoons followed by foggy mornings and cooler days. On average, temperatures were lower than normal until mid-summer, then normal toward the end. By Labor Day the sugars were high and many of our neighbors began picking. Upon advice from our vineyard manager, Paul Saviez, and winemaker, Phil Steinschreiber, we decided to crush on the first day of fall, September 22, 2001. This translates to a hang-time of over 140 days, which is long for young grapes like ours. Since our winery and fermentation tanks were under construction, we crushed at a neighbor’s winery.
In all, we picked over three tons of tightly bunched, ultra-ripe and very delicious cabernet sauvignon grapes. The majority came from the sun-drenched lower (Manzanita Hill) vineyard with the rest from the distinctly different upper (Rattlesnake Ridge) vineyard.
Two days after harvest, God refreshed the vines and the entire valley with a hard rain accompanied by a pyrotechnic display of lightning and thunder as rare as our new vintage.