Vintage Report: Russian River Valley

Every vintage brings new challenges and surprises, which is why every year our wines are unique. The conditions of the growing season greatly influence the resulting wines and their ageability. We strive to produce wines that are ready to drink upon release, but also cellar-worthy. We have included suggested drinking guidelines below.


2007 Vintage


  • Believed to be the perfect vintage by winemakers and wine critics alike. Mild rains in February and March resulted in bud break in late April, which is always ideal timing to avoid frost. The summer months provided a moderate growing season with plenty of sunshine but no major heat spikes. Cooler temperatures prevailed throughout August and September, which allowed the fruit to mature at a slow, even pace. Average yields with consistent temperatures created balanced wines. Our 2007 Pinot Noirs are at their prime.


  •      •     2007 Appian Way Vineyards Pinot Noir: Drink now through 2017


  •      •     2007 Grist Vineyard Zinfandel: Drink now through 2017



2008 Vintage


  • Challenging year to get it right. Spring frost led to uneven ripening and low crop yields. The growing season was moderate to cool with an unfortunate heat spike in mid-August. Cooler temps returned to allow extended hang time. Low yields created very intense, bright wines.


  •      •     2008 Appian Way Vineyards Pinot Noir: Drink now through 2018


  •      •     2008 Elk Prairie Vineyards Pinot Noir: Drink now through 2019


  •      •     2008 Grist Vineyard Zinfandel: Drink now through 2017



2009 Vintage


  • Ideal growing season, possibly even better than 2007. A dry winter and spring led to an early bud break and warm weather during flowering allowed the fruit to have an even set. Growing season was cool and consistent with very few heat spikes. A heat wave in late August pushed ripening through and harvest began in early September. For winemakers, this vintage was smooth sailing. Upon release, the wines were bright and balanced with good acidity.


  •      •     2009 Appian Way Vineyards Pinot Noir: Drink now through 2017


  •      •     2009 Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir: Drink now through 2017


  •      •     2009 Elk Prairie Vineyards Pinot Noir: Drink now through 2019


  •      •     2009 Grist Vineyard Zinfandel: Drink now through 2020



2010 Vintage


  • A tricky year for many, but we nailed it. It was a very wet winter and spring, which resulted in problems with mildew. Dense fog during the growing season encouraged grape growers to pull leaves on both sides of the canopy to allow air flow to the fruit zone. This farming technique proved to be a bad decision when three major heat waves hit in late August and early September. Over-exposed grapes that were not picked early were severely dehydrated. Fortunately, we picked after the second heat wave. Our grapes benefitted from a cool season with enough hang time, which resulted in beautiful wines with ample natural acidity and low sugar levels. One of our favorite vintages!


  •      •     2010 Appian Way Vineyards Pinot Noir: Drink now through 2022


  •      •     2010 Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir: Drink now through 2019


  •      •     2010 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir: Drink now through 2020


  •      •     2010 Grist Vineyard Zinfandel: Drink now through 2018



2011 Vintage


  • Coolest vintage in recent years and another tricky one. It started off great with a mild spring with small yields. A very cool growing season pushed harvest into late September, which wasn’t problematic until we got five inches of rain in the middle of harvest. Botrytis (mold) was a serious concern; if not addressed properly, it could destroy an entire vintage worth of wine. We are fortunate to have great vineyard crews that tackled the botrytis in the vineyard. As a last line of defense, our sorting equipment at the winery effectively weeded out any remaining moldy grape bunches. Wines from this vintage are lean with low alcohol levels. They show earthy tones with good minerality, the opposite of “fruit bombs.” We love Joseph Jewell wines from this vintage! These are our current releases.








2012 Vintage


  • Hands down, amazing vintage. We had a warm and dry winter, which prompted an early bud break. A warm growing season led to an abundant crop. Cool weather returned in late August, which slowed down the ripening process and increased hang time. Grape bunches were fully formed with good, medium-sized berries. The fruit came into the winery looking great, with no traces of mold. Resulting wines are very aromatic, bright, and fresh. These wines will be released later this year.


  •      •     2012 Appian Way Vineyards Pinot Noir: Drink through 2021


  •      •     2012 Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir: Drink through 2023


  •      •     2012 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir: Drink through 2024


  •      •     2012 “Rubies” Pinot Noir: Drink through 2024


  •      •     2012 Grist Vineyard Zinfandel: Drink through 2024



2013 Vintage


  • Another amazing vintage. Very similar to 2012 with a warm and dry winter and an early bud break. The growing season was warm with cool nights. The crop was a little smaller that 2012 and the fruit ripened a little earlier in September. Thanks to the coastal fog, there was still plenty of hang time. Rich, ripe, balanced wines will come from this vintage. Wines are yet to be released. Drink 2016-2024.



2014 Vintage


  • Third terrific vintage in a row. Similar to 2012 and 2013. Bud break happened about one month ahead of the norm, which pushed harvest forward a month. We had warm weather throughout the entire growing season, but not too hot. The grape bunches ripened evenly. This was the earliest harvest in many years, which is unusual, but as far as we can tell, the wines are going to be as great as 2012 and 2013. These wines are currently in barrel.