Five Things I’ve Learned about Napa Valley Wines That Apply to Texas Wines
Several weeks ago I attended the Napa Valley traveling road show that came through Houston, Texas. It was sponsored by Napa Valley Vintners. It was a mix of trade and consumer wine tasting events and educational programs held at Minute Maid Park home of the Houston Astros.
Over 40,000 acres of vines are now planted in Napa Valley that includes about 700 growers. There are a total of about 450 wineries. The breakdown of the wineries is as follows: 95 percent are family owned, 70 percent are less than 10,000 cases and 60 percent at less than 5,000 cases.
Unfortunately, it took me longer than expected to find my notes and my thoughts to post in this VintageTexas blog. I finally figured that the best way to present what I learned was to summarized the top five things I learned through my tastings and discussions with the Napa Valley Vintners that participated in this event. See below:
1. The one thing that is perhaps preeminent in Napa Valley is constancy of climate
Napa Valley offers growing conditions that offer little vintage-to-vintage variation. Most of their rain occurs during the winter period with little of it actually coming during the growing season. Growing conditions are normally warm to hot and dry. Occasionally, late frost will occur as will late season periods of intense heat (>100 F). When comparing this to the climate we have in Texas, Texas is affected by the tug of war between the continental and gulf weather. It’s no wonder that Texas growers and winemakers alike have to deal with the effects of weather variability. This results in varying harvest yields and parameters (Brix and pH) for the grapes. Therefore, the Texas winegrowing is more like that in Europe where vintage-to-vintage variation is greater than it is in Napa Valley.