The 2017 Harvest ― An Excellent Vintage!
Hello from Concannon Vineyard!
Well friends, my family and I are happy to let you know that Concannon’s 134th Anniversary Harvest Season came to a close on November 8th with the final pressing of our Cabernet Sauvignon!
All of the new wine is now in the cellar for aging and beautifully transforming into “bottled poetry.” With 14 varieties of estate grapes harvested, we’re excited and thankful that the wines are looking great and already showing well in the barrel. We are also celebrating our new Concannon Clone 7 Vineyard’s very first vintage with 30 tons of Cabernet harvested from its young vines.
This year, our night harvesting, which began over 130 years ago, started on August 29th with the careful hand-picking under moon and stars of our Sauvignon Blanc ― and finished on October 27th with our 1883 Mother Vine Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon.
For the 2017 harvest, we ended up with balanced vines and grapes which produced lower yields of delicious, highly-concentrated fruit flavors and bright aromas for our 2017 wines ― it has turned out to be an excellent vintage for Concannon!
I can hardly say enough about how much I respect and want to honor our entire winegrowing team who worked enormous hours to determine the best viticultural and sustainable practices to employ at every turn throughout this often challenging year of unusual weather before and during harvest.
At the first of the year, we rejoiced in the rains that ended California’s five-year drought. And then it kept raining and raining ― making it the wettest spring in over 120 years! Thankfully, our sustainable farming methods that were already in play for preventing soil erosion ― plus the quick thinking and very hard work of our vineyard team ― succeeded so well that rot and mildew were never a factor for our vineyards this year.
The rains were then followed by a couple of abnormally high heat spikes, the most dramatic one happening over Labor Day weekend when temperatures reached a high of 109 degrees. None of us can remember such a sizzling hot beginning of harvest!
However, once again, I watched magnificent teamwork and synergy of passion and purpose come into play as sustainable irrigation methods, precise leafing and canopy management vine-per-vine, and advanced techniques of viticulture management and technology were all successfully used to cool and protect the vines and fruit.
As a result, we were able to allow the grapes to continue to hang to get back in balance before picking. Harvest is an exciting time, and picking at precisely the right moment always results in better wine!
You have often heard me say that we are committed to crafting elegant, nuanced and balanced wines that beautifully express the terroir. Terroir describes the combination of site, soil, climate, geology and vines as well as the people who work to bring out the best in the fruit.
This year, I hope you will continue raising a glass with me to all of these dedicated, hard workers and their families, not only to ours at Concannon Vineyard, but also to all of those working in vineyards and wineries throughout California.
Every day, I’ve been inspired by their passion, determination and courage throughout this extremely unusual and crazy year of weather to bring about the 2017 vintage!
Concannon Vineyard’s John Concannon holds just picked cabernet sauvignon grape clusters for the annual Livermore Valley blessing of the grapes ceremony, kicking off the 2017 harvest. (Mary Orlin/Bay Area News Group) For Concannon’s as well as California’s 2017 vintage, I am most grateful ― and, I hope that once these wines are in the bottles and released to wine lovers everywhere, that we will all remember the best in human kindness, courage and generosity that was displayed this year, and which I believe has made this one of the most stellar and remarkable vintages of all times from our California wine community.
Cheers to the new wine, to the joy and beauty it adds to our lives, and to you and yours!
Fourth Generation Vintner