The 2021 growing season was a prime example of why Napa Valley is such a great place to grow grapes. The winter heading into the 2021 growing season was colder than average with a drier than average spring. There were four total heat events over the growing season with the May and September heat events being outside the typical range for that time of year. The rainfall for the year was below average for the fourth straight year, presenting a challenge for the grower due to irrigation ponds and wells being at levels that have not been seen since 2017. The colder spring and lack of rain caused bud break to occur two weeks later than in 2020 but brought it closer to the 5-year average. The summer growing conditions were exceptionally good, making for ideal berry development. Both bloom and veraison, which typically last two to three weeks each, were each over in about a week! The start of harvest was early due to September being very warm. This was good, because in October California experienced a series of atmospheric rivers that dumped 9.5” of rain that month. The yields for the year were below average, but from a quality standpoint, it was a vintage year!
Since our founding in 1978, Pine Ridge Vineyards has invested in 160 acres of estate vineyards, 47 of which are in our home appellation, Stags Leap District. The fruit for this vintage was chosen from our premier sites set throughout the Napa Valley including our estates in Stags Leap, Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford and Carneros. The 2021 vintage was harvested from September 9th to October 19th.
The grapes were hand-picked at night, carefully sorted in the vineyard, then brought to the cellar and de-stemmed. This meticulous care taken in the vineyard by our Viticulture Director Gustavo Aviña and his crew delivered bright, ripe fruit, with substantial mouthfeel and complexity. Following a cold soak, a high-temperature fermentation occurred to ensure maximum flavor and color extraction. The wine was racked to 35% new French oak and 15% new American oak barrels and aged for 18 months
prior to bottling. 50% was aged in neutral French Oak to maintain the freshness and elegance of the vintage.