It would be fair to say that the growing season of 1998 was varied throughout Napa County, and it will be difficult to make a blanket pronouncement about this vintage. Mother Nature threw every conceivable curve ball at us that she could this year, and we were able to weather all of them (no pun intended!) by drawing upon our winegrowing experience gleaned over the last quarter of a century. Knowing from the outset that this year would present challenges, we began early on to make adjustments in our farming techniques to compensate for what was lacking in the weather.
We pruned to allow fewer fruiting buds per vine, we thinned fruit with a heavy hand during the summer so that the remaining clusters would have the chance to become fully mature, and we thinned out leaves several times to provide both sunlight and air movement to the ripening grapes.
All this hand work required patience and skill, and the end result proved to us that this attention to detail was well worth the time and effort expended. Keeping on top of everything in the vineyard was the key to another successful vintage, and we had a great crew that worked together to provide us with the top quality fruit that is typical of our vineyard, year in and year out.
—Rosemary Cakebread, Winemaker