North Coast winegrape harvest set to begin this week

Crews are set to start fanning out into North Coast vineyards this week to pick the first grapes of the season.

Grapes for sparkling wines are picked at lower sugar levels than grapes for table wines, and Mumm Napa typically is one of the first in the region to get started each year. On Monday the sparkling wine house announced plans for picking its first grapes of the season Wednesday in Game Farm Vineyard.

The anticipated start this year is two days earlier than Mumm Napa’s start last year on Aug. 1, which was about a week and a half earlier than usual. However, the winery’s earliest pick was July 23 in 1997, according to a spokeswoman.

In Sonoma County, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards is aiming toward a start of picking early next week, according to a spokeswoman.

“One of the great things about this growing season was that we did not have to irrigate at all between budbreak and bloom,” said Mike Crumly, vice president of vineyards. “The vines grew their canopies to full size and then stopped their growth once the canes reached the top wires in most of our blocks. This is — was — ideal for a perfect growth cycle.”

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