2016 Napa Vintage Report: A Quick Recap

California, Vintage report
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The 2016 Napa Vintage Report took place on January 18th, 2017, at the Westin Verasa in Napa, CA.  The gathering was the seventh iteration of the annual conference in Napa. The 2016 Vintage Report aimed to provide an engaging platform for winemakers and grape growers to share their experiences with the 2016 vintage, and share new technology and research advances and their impact on future winemaking and vineyard management practices.  The content of the conference was organized based on the plant calendar for a growing year, proceeding from winter/spring to fall harvest.

Tim Mondavi kicked off the conference with an overview of the Mondavi family history in the Napa Valley, past challenges faced in the region, and hurdles to overcome in the future.

Tim Mondavi speaking at the 2016 Napa Vintage Report

 The conference featured a lineup of speakers from across the wine industry and the research community. Some of the viticulture research topics discussed included shoot development and vineyard uniformity related to arm positioning (Dr. Jean Dodson Peterson of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) and effects of vineyard management practices on phenolic compounds (Kaan Kurtural, PhD, UC Davis). In addition to vineyard management practices, the conference also touched upon recent findings in wine production process such as the relationship between barrel aging and wine/grape aroma profiles (Andrei Prida of Seguin Moreau).

Kaan Kurtural speaking at the 2016 Napa Vintage Report

 Thibaut Scholasch from Fruition Sciences, highlighted data trends during the 2016 growing season and provided a comparison with previous vintages. Overall, the 2016 vintage unfolded with a steady supply of moisture into late spring, relatively high heat accumulation, and a higher light regime compared to 2015.  The wines produced in 2016 will likely reflect these well-balanced vineyard conditions.  Going into 2017, it will be enlightening to discuss the impact of the lack of early season water deficit and the carry over effect due to high nitrogen uptake in 2016 on the yield and fruit quality in 2017.  

If you attended the conference, what were your key learnings and favorite moments? What do you expect to see in next year’s conference? Do you know Vintage Report is coming to Sonoma for the first time this year? We look forward to seeing you next year to discuss the next growing season!

Chase Martin
Chase graduated from Whitman College in the heart of Washington’s wine country, Walla Walla, where he earned a BA in Chemistry-Geology with a concentration in groundwater modeling. He gained experience in scientific data collection, analysis, and quality assurance through research collaborations with professors at multiple universities. Chase has worked in a variety of research and technical positions in recent years, including as the Technical Manager for Semester in the West, a semester-long environmental studies field program offered by Whitman College. His love for the Walla Walla wine industry drew him back to Washington in 2016, when he began working as a Technician for Fruition Sciences. He now lives in Napa, and works as one of Fruition’s Client Data Specialists. In his free time Chase enjoys cycling, fly-fishing, reading a book somewhere outdoors, and testing his latest recipes in the kitchen.
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