Although 2020 has had its fair share of low points, this year’s harvest brought a shining light to many of our winemaker friends worldwide. From Piedmont to Bordeaux to California and beyond, we’re sharing five vintage recaps from a few of our closest producer buddies. It may not seem like it now, but the future – at least for our cellars – looks pretty bright.
Azienda Agricola 499 (Piedmont, Italy)
“I love the 2020 vintage! A ray of sunshine on this sad year. The vintage started very smoothly. We started harvesting Chardonnay for Spumante on the 27th of August, followed by Moscato a few days later. By mid-September, I was a bit worried for the Freisa and Nebbiolo grapes, since the temperatures were quite high for the season. I picked the Freisa for rosé on the 17th of September and the timing was perfect – beautiful color, refreshing acidity, and a proper potential alcohol.
I achieved my dream on the 3rd week of September when the weather turned cool – almost cold, even – followed by some days of rain… then the foggy days arrived! The Nebbiolo and the Freisa needed these conditions to achieve the best phenolic and ripening of flavors. I waited a few days so that the vines could feel the end of the season. On the 1st of October I picked the Freisa for red vinification, and a week later on the 8th, the Nebbiolo. All berries were perfect – amazing colors, flavors, and gentle tannins.” – Mario Andrion
Les Trois Mains (Bordeaux, France)
“2020 was a warmer vintage for us. Harvest was held on August 26th (vs. September 5th in 2019 and August 20th in 2018). We have lower acidity and higher pH than previous years, but freshness and fruit purity is there, along with a similar alcohol level (12.5%). Overall, we are very happy with the quality and alcoholic fermentation finished well, so fingers crossed!” – Claire Kyunghwa NAM
Post & Vine (California, USA)
“Harvest 2020 has been a whirlwind, with more than its fair share of emotional ups and downs! But through it all, the old vines I work with showed their resilience and managed a dry and warm year exceptionally well, producing smaller clusters of intensely flavored fruit.
The devastating fires of 2020 mostly spared Mendocino, Contra Costa, and Lodi and I am carefully watching the wines as they finish fermentation in barrel. I look forward to sharing these wines in a better future when we can all get together again and know that the 2020 vintage wines will have quite a story to tell.” – Rebekah Wineburg
Cigliano di Sopra (Tuscany, Italy)
“After a rainy autumn and a mild winter, the 2020 vintage started with an early budbreak in late March/first week of April. Spring started warm and dry and temperatures returned to average from mid-April until the end of May. Flowering of Sangiovese happened in the last week of May and first week of June. A rainy and cold June helped slow down the vines’ growth, which was going too fast until then.
Summer was dry and temperatures were average, though marked by good temperatures swings between day and night (and some heat peaks at the beginning of August). Harvest happened in mid-September. The sun, the wind, and strong diurnal shifts gave us savory, super healthy grapes balanced in acidity and sugar content. This will result in fresh wines with medium alcohol content and a very nice color.” – Matteo Vaccari
Hodgkinson (Priorat, Spain)
“The year of COVID has come hand in hand with the year of mildew! By the end of May, it had rained more than all of last year combined, and this proved to be ideal for an exceptionally virulent mildew outbreak throughout Priorato, which unfortunately affected the region with yield losses of up to 50%. The remaining grapes, however, were extremely healthy and very aromatic, so we’ll hopefully have an excellent 2020 vintage to compensate for – let’s say it out loud – a fucked up year! (Pardon my French!)
The harvest really was a reduced family affair this year, as Luca couldn’t make it over from Chile, and even though we missed him, with the inestimable help of our mother and father (and dog!) we managed fine. The last picture is of a magnificent rainbow that crowned the end of the harvest. Epic!” – Caspar Hodgkinson