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2013 was another great growing season, but 2014 and 2015 would not fare as well. After our fifth consecutive year of drought, in 2014, the effects began to show. The stress caused the grapes to raisin before they were ripe enough to harvest. We did so anyway, being sure to keep the questionable grapes separate. The experiment did not last long; we ended up disposing of over half of the crush.

While 2015 as a vintage also suffered from a sixth year of drought, the whole valley was devastated by shatter before it even mattered. What little rain did come last year, came during bud break in May. It wiped out around 60% of the valley floor’s fruit and we lost around 80% of our crop; Merlot is particularly susceptible to shatter. However, this did mean that the remaining fruit seemed to have enough water to ripen! We’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.