Mark Anderson, Director of the Vintage Report recently sat down with the Viticulture Blog’s Vincent Sauton to discuss the upcoming Napa Vintage Report and how the conference shapes into the context of the greater wine industry.
Vincent Sauton: Can you start off by describing what is the Vintage Report?
Mark Anderson: The Vintage Report is a one day symposium where we ask the question: how can we leverage what we learned this year to improve vineyard practices and improve wine quality? We bring together winemakers and scientists from around the region to present data and discuss empirical experience that paints a picture of the previous year’s harvest. The conference is open to winemakers, grapegrowers, vineyard/winery staff, winery owners and others within the winegrowing discipline. Throughout the day this group have the chance to connect with one another and discuss their experiences during the previous year’s vintage and how this shapes up with the rest of the region.
VS: How does this approach impact grapegrowers and winemakers?
MA: There are many winegrowers who come to the Vintage Report every year because they are looking to see how their results from the previous season compare to the region overall. There is also the opportunity to develop a better, more cohesive plan for the next vintage considering climate and understanding of vineyard response. In addition, the speakers who present at the Vintage Report shed light into some of the most cutting edge developments in viticulture and enology. Finally, the Vintage Report is a great place to check in with other winemakers and grapegrowers from around the area.
VS: What were the main components of the 2017 Vintage in Napa?
MA: It was a challenging vintage in so many different ways for winegrowers across the Napa Valley. The exceptionally wet winter followed a summer with some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded. The intensity of heat waves have shaped and sometimes slowed down 2017 maturation profiles. This caused for some extreme conditions when looking at vine response and ripening patterns. To top that off we cannot forget the devastating October firestorms. Not only did this impact the livelihoods of hundreds of people across the Valley, the wildfires may have had consequences on the vines as well. These are all items that we will be discussing during the 2017 Napa Vintage Report.
VS: What kind of content will be covered at this year’s Napa Vintage Report?
MA: Throughout the course of our Napa event, we will take a science-driven look at the 2017 season and observe its results on vineyard performance. Presentations at the Vintage Report will first review the effect the climate had on plant development and discuss how this impacted vine and fruit physiology. Then we will uncover a new way of looking at ripening dynamics that can shed light on berry chemical changes and the effect of harvest timing on wine composition. Considering wine composition, we will also have a panel of winegrowers look at different color extraction techniques. Finally we will discuss implications of smoke-related issues on wine quality.
VS: January through March is a busy time for winemakers and grapegrowers as there are a lot of other trade shows to attend. How does the Vintage Report differ from other events?
MA: We don’t see the Vintage Report as a trade show, but as an informational symposium. With that in mind, I would encourage winegrowers to attend tradeshows such as Unified, Wine IQ and Rootstock to get a better idea of what products to invest in this year. At the Vintage Report, we look to welcome a community of winegrowers who come to this event to perfect their approach to growing grapes and making wines. Because of this, winery and vineyard equipment providers can only attend the event as Vintage Report sponsors.
VS: What other events is the Vintage Report organizing this year?
MA: In just a few weeks we have our first Vintage Report of the year in Bordeaux (December 13, 2017). After the Napa event on January 18 of 2018, we will be putting on events in Paso Robles on January 31, McMinnville Oregon on February 8, and Sonoma County on March 7. Each event will present a data driven perspective on growing conditions during the 2017 season.
VS: If we will not be in the area when these events are happening, Is there any other way to stay connected?
MA: Absolutely! We will have video live streams available for our events in Napa, Paso Robles and Sonoma. You will be able to log on and view the presentations at the Vintage Report from anywhere in the world!