Having just spent 9 days in the Napa Valley, I can tell you about two topics that filled the valley air; the drastic change in weather from killer frost to searing heat, and the passing of an America Icon. Just before I arrived, the winemakers and grape growers were consumed with chatter about the wide-spread frost that devistated vines in the region. In a matter of days, the chatter began to heat up – literally. By mid-week the temperatures hit 104 degrees and stayed pretty heated until the sun was well on its way over the horizon. So the question is, “What will the swing from frost to heat do to the vines?” While most growers I talked to felt the frost will definately decrease yields by up to 10%, they did not seem bothered by the heat because vines shut down when temps soar above the mid 80’s. In terms of vine health that may be ture – as for the rest of us – we were melting! Sadly, the Valley suffered another big blow during my stay – the passing of the father of American wine Mr. Robert Mondavi. Without a question, we would not have Napa Valley if we did not have Robert Mondavi. The word of his passing spread quickly through the valley and the Mondavi Winery was closed for a few days in honor of its founder. If you have a Mondavi story that you would like to share with the family, go to the Napa Valley Vinters website and participate in the on-line toast to Robert Mondavi. Better yet, the next time you sip a big Napa red, raise a glass in his name and give thanks to his lifetime of contributions that made the wine you’re enjoying possible. Cheers.
About the Author: Marianne Frantz
A Certified Wine Educator, Marianne holds a Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) of London, and has also earned the Advanced Sommelier qualification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. After successfully participating in an educational competition sponsored by the Wines of Australia in the spring of 2008, Marianne became an educational Ambassador for Wine Australia USA. She is also a Certified Spanish Wine Educator.