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Grape harvest 2013 expected to be great

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Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 11:58 am

Signs point to another ‘spectacular’ harvest on heels of 2012

HEALDSBURG — Those in the know are saying conditions are ripe for the 2013 grape harvest to be nothing short of spectacular. While Mother Nature — as always — will play a big role in the life of this year’s harvest, if she behaves, growers say it could be a banner year. “This next year, I declare it to be a spectacular year, right on the heels of this one,” said Kendall Jackson Winemaster Randy Ullom, to a room of business leaders at a Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce luncheon.  Ullom told the group that the economy, pricing, consumer confidence, and last year’s weather have set up the 2013 harvest for a great year. He said the great weather during last year’s bloom set the vines up for that year, but also began creating the buds for the following year.  “Weather-wise, it was spot on (in 2012),” he said. As long as the cold weather we’ve seen in January doesn’t drop to temperatures in the 14-17 degree range, this year’s bloom has quite a bit of potential. While the vines are dormant now, by May 12, he said, “we will be in full bloom in Russian River,” which he described as “full on rampant sex in the vineyards.” As Chamber business members sipped on KJ’s Vintner’s Reserve pinot noir or its 2011 Avant chardonnay, Ullom detailed some of the cyclical conditions that wineries face.  “The past few years things have turned around,” he said, after facing a dismal 2008 season that saw sharp reductions in sales when the recession hit. Since then, he said, “consumer confidence is coming back.” Direct to consumer sales were up 30 percent in December, he said, and off premise sales were up for the year by 6 percent. The 2009, 2010, and 2011 seasons were short for everybody, but 2012 was bountiful with high quality grapes, he said. The 2012 harvest was widely referred to as “perfect.”

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