The 2020 Vintage
There is no way to sugarcoat it, 2020 was not a good year to be alive. Between the pandemic, the fires and the generally toxic public discourse, it was hard to find anything to smile about. One of the things I like best about being a winemaker is working with things--grapevines and wine--that exist outside of society, so to speak. The Pinot Noir vines at The Shop don't know or care who is president, and of course they don't get the same diseases that we do. They are resilient, and the grapevines had a pretty good year last year up until the fall.
Winter 2019-2020 was dry, after a fairly we previous winter. We did get a little rain in the spring, but for the most part the table was set to have a low water growing season. The early part of the year was warm, so things got off to a quick start and the vines grew rapidly for the first couple of months of the season. Just when they were to deplete the already fairly low soil moisture reservoir the weather turned mild, with relatively few heat waves and generally moderate to high relative humidity, so even though the plants had a limited supply of moisture, they did not suffer as they would have in a hotter summer. So in a way, the vines got all the benefits of water stress--less growth, smaller berries, lower yields and better concentration--without suffering as much as usual. Sounds pretty good, no?