SALINAS VALLEY — The 2023 Monterey County wine grape harvest has begun with Scheid Family Wines’ Isabelle’s Vineyard located in the Salinas Valley along River Road, west of Chualar, on the Monterey Wine Trail, announced Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association last week.
Cool weather delayed the start of the harvest season, while winter rains provided relief for the vines, which indicates a “positive outlook on the quality and quantity of grapes to be harvested this year,” according to the Association.
“Due to a cooler growing season, Monterey County’s wine grapes are maturing at a slower rate than previous vintages. 2023 has been one of the coolest years in recent history,” said Dan Lompa, director of vineyard operations at Scheid Family Wines, a family-owned and operated wine company based in Monterey County with a state-of-the-art winery in Greenfield. “We are beginning our harvest a couple of weeks later than usual.”
The 2023 inaugural harvest began as the sun rose above the Salinas Valley on Aug. 29 in Isabelle’s Vineyard, where Scheid Family Wines grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, delicate grapes that are used in their sparkling wines.
“The cooler season maintained the grapes’ natural acidity, which is perfect for making a crisp and lively sparkling wine,” explained Dave Nagengast, vice president of winemaking at Scheid. “The Vit team has grown some beautiful and very clean fruit for us to work with and we are excited to get started.”
Named after founder Al Scheid’s mother, Isabelle’s Vineyard is a small, high-quality vineyard totaling just three acres. Located in the Monterey AVA, it is one of the most northerly vineyards in the county. The hand-harvested grapes will be used for the company’s namesake brand, Scheid Vineyards, in their Isabelle Cuvée.
This year’s crop, anticipated to generate an average to slightly above average crop load, is expected to produce high-quality fruit throughout the region with strong flavor development.
“Due to mild temperatures in the spring and summer, harvest is late this year. Some growers report a delay of two to three weeks,” said Kim Stemler, executive director of the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association. “The winter and spring rains replenished not only groundwater, but also the vineyards, washing away salts in the soil and increasing canopy vigor. In other words — making really happy vines.”
Formed in 1974, the Monterey County Vintners and Growers Association will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2024. The Association brings together the talents and resources of winegrowers, winemakers and their extended community to promote and support leadership in the art, science and business of wine. Visit montereywines.org for more information.