On Wednesday morning November 16, we brought in the final eight tons of cabernet sauvignon, took the photo at left of our vineyard crew and winemaking team, and officially called the 2011 harvest a wrap. 2011 will forever be known as a vintage for mountain wines here in the Napa/Sonoma area. In the first days of October, several inches of rain followed by warm temperatures created the humid environment on the valley floors in which fungus flourishes. Botrytis (a fungus that can ruin wine) ran rampant like never before and most wineries were forced to bring in their crop earlier than normal especially given the cool growing season. However, mountain vineyards were hit much less severely by botrytis; the higher you went, the better. For us at Pride Mountain Vineyards, with all the whites already in, we kept a close eye on the relatively thin-skinned merlot after the early October rain, and dropped anything even hinting of botrytis, but were otherwise able to go about ripening as usual. October was warm (even hot on many days) and November mild and pleasant, which allowed the grapes to obtain their ideal maturity characterized by brown fragile seeds, intense complex flavors, and sugar ranging from 25 to 29 Brix depending on block and variety. The depth of color, weight and flavor intensity of the resulting wines are simply off the chart … and the most intense lots of our cabernet sauvignon are still cold soaking! Although being at 2100’ elevation means we get a later start than the valley floors in the springtime, it also means our grapes can hang through any fall weather without risk of fungus until we get just the ripeness we desire. We wouldn’t swap our situation with anybody.