LIVERMORE, Calif., Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2011 wine grape harvest in Northern California's Livermore Valley appellation will be a bit later than normal this year, due in large part to a very wet, cool spring and summer. But the same conditions that have delayed the start of Crush have also combined to allow slow, gentle ripening of the region's Bordeaux varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon - fostering hopes for a very high-quality vintage. "Cult" Cabernet producer Steven Kent Winery will be conducting its fifteenth harvest in the historic L.V. winegrowing district.
Owner and vintner Steven Kent Mirassou points out that Livermore Valley's unique location (just south of Napa Valley and east of San Francisco Bay) helps protect the area from damaging frosts and mildew that have affected other regions this year: "Our east-west orientation and relationship with the Bay provide drying winds that decrease fungal pressures. Fruit on the Home Ranch and Ghielmetti Estate vineyards came through the early growing season healthy and clean. Yields appear to be only slightly lower than normal."
Relatively cool temperatures continued through June and July, resulting in a fairly late start to veraison. Steven explains: "Planted on the gravel leavings of the Arroyo Mocho River on the valley floor of Livermore, the Home Ranch Vineyard is always 2 to 4 weeks ahead of the Ghielmetti Estate site. This year is no exception. While we are about done with veraison in the Cabernet at Home Ranch, we are only 75% complete with color change in the Cabernet, Merlot, and Petit Verdot blocks at Ghielmetti (which is 3.5 miles further east and about 400 feet higher than the H.R.)"
Steven estimates that "given traditional ripening curves, we should see harvest at Home Ranch around the second week of October; at Ghielmetti, we might not start until after Halloween. The relatively cool spring and summer does have the beneficial effect, though, of contributing to gradual sugar accumulation - which should allow us to harvest wonderfully complex fruit at relatively low potential alcohol levels."
The Steven Kent Winery is located in the historic, world-class Livermore Valley appellation. Owner / winemaker Steven Kent Mirassou, sixth-generation of America's oldest winemaking family, specializes in crafting small lot wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon and the Bordeaux varietals - conscientiously farmed on the Ghielmetti Vineyard and the winery's own estate blocks. SKW also produces Lineage(TM), a very limited, signature "Bordeaux-style" blend. The winery's visitor center is open daily; its online home is http://www.stevenkent.com
SOURCE Steven Kent Winery