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Vintage Report Napa 2011

  • How could we characterize 2011 Napa Vintage, compared to previous years?
  • How can we leverage the latest scientific advances to improve winemaker expertise?

The 2011 Vintage Report was held on January 18th 2012 at the Westin Verasa. The purpose of this conference is to discuss the link between fruit maturation, plant and climate, specifically in Napa. Throughout the day, there were discussions mixing renowned Napa Valley winemakers testimonials with scientific results. 2011 Vintage Report keynote was delivered by Michel Rolland.

The idea of a Vintage Report has stemmed from our willingness to enhance sustainability practices through education about plant physiology and its response to environment. By organizing this conference each year, we aim at creating the impulse to gather winemakers and scientists interested in improving winemaking.

Join us next year to gain up to the minute perspectives from the industry and get a unique firsthand insight into the 2012 Vintage. This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to share experiences, ideas and connections, to better understand the past Vintage and prepare for the next one.


Michel RollandMichel Rolland's introduction

With a stated goal in mind to be "producing the best possible wine by turning past-vintage experience into valuable expertise during the vintage" we are facing a complex challenge. The seven last vintages clearly illustrate how much climate variability can affect wine production: we experienced early as well as very late vintages while harvesting windows are stretching always wider... and this is particularly true in Napa!

In such context, achieving the goal of producing the best possible wine demands that we understand better the relationships between vineyard production and vintage conditions. Such knowledge will become key for any winemaker willing to adjust its practices everywhere in his vineyard, year after year.

In recent years, the introduction of new technology into the vineyard has made it possible to combine winemaker expertise with scientific knowledge. Thanks to this approach, we better understand how practices can be adjusted in order to optimize fruit maturation. Consequently, our ability to understand how environment affects the vine is leading the way to a direct improvement of vineyard practices and wine quality. The potential of such approach where the latest scientific advances are incorporated into a framework of empirical and human knowledge is huge for improving wine quality. It can only grow larger with more vintages.

The purpose of the Vintage Report is to share all this information, gathered from many sources, in order to get the most of Napa Valley know-how and see how the vintage affected wine making. It aims at bringing together scientists and winemakers, driven by the same desire of better understanding both the plant and the climatic effect for an always better winemaking.

If this sounds interesting, I would be happy to see you in Napa on January 18, 2012.

Michel Rolland signature