The 2022 vintage is in the books! It wasn’t the easiest growing season—in fact, it was a roller coaster. But we are pleased with the outcome and the new wines are showing nicely.
We caught up with Founding Winemaker Mike Sinor for a recap of this memorable growing season:
Can you take us back to the start of the 2022 growing season?
Yes, you could say that the 2022 vintage began late last year, when we received quite a bit of rainfall from October through December—so much so that we were at 150 percent of our seasonal water average by mid January. Unfortunately, this trend did not extend into the 2022 growing season, with only another half inch of rainfall gained thereafter. Then came the spring season, which brought uncommonly high winds that affected the set period of the vine cycle, creating a slight reduction in eventual crop yields.
Tell us about how summer ended with a bang…
The summer was mild and pitch perfect and all that we could have asked for, up until a 10-day heat wave that began on Labor Day. Temperatures peaked at 112 degrees at Margarita Vineyard, and we recorded five total days above 107 degrees. Thankfully for the vines, the evening temperatures were normal, with nighttime temperatures reaching a range of 59 to 60 degrees—ensuring crucial acid retention. On the heels of the heat wave came remnants of Hurricane Kay up from Baja, bringing humidity along with 1.5 inches of rain. But it wasn’t as bad as it sounds on paper. We just had to rise above it all and stay focused.
So what is your takeaway on vintage 2022?
Despite the tricky weather conditions, the wines of 2022 are showing great promise. Our Pellenc machine harvesters with optical sorters rejected most of the raisins nicely, something hand picking crews would be unable to do—which ultimately minimized the impact from the heat wave. Yields for the year were approximately 12 percent off our average, which we can easily live with.
2022 HARVEST MILESTONES
Aug 17: first pick (sparkling)
Sept 27: first pick of Cabernet Sauvignon
Oct 24: last day of picking (about two weeks earlier than normal)
RECENT VINTAGES @ MARGARITA VINEYARD
Spring and summer got off to a cool start. This was followed by warming trends in the latter half of summer and moderate conditions through harvest—resulting in fruit with excellent balance and flavor development.
The 2020 growing season was marked by a mild spring and summer, punctuated by two late-summer heat waves that accelerated the pace of ripening into harvest.
The 2019 was notable for a cold start to summer—reminiscent of 2010. This was followed by moderate temperatures for measured ripening through harvest. This pattern produced low yields with beautiful concentration.
A cool start to the 2018 growing season was followed by the “March Miracle”—a drought-ending storm that delivered 10 inches of rain to Margarita Vineyard. This set the tone for a long, steady growing season. This was ultimately a cool vintage, with the last of the fruit picked on November 20.
This was one of the wettest years since the inception of Ancient Peaks, ending the recent drought cycle. A normal crop load and an untroubled harvest produced wines that are balanced and expressive.
A predicted El Niño year never materialized. The eight inches of rainfall was better that recent years, but a far cry from expectations. The growing season was warm overall, but without notable heat spikes, producing what one critic called “an undeniably great vintage for Paso Robles.”
This vintage was marked by the driest conditions in Paso Robles since the late 1800s. However, an unusual July rainstorm saved the day with 2.5 inches of rain at the ranch. The dry conditions produced wines with high tannins and staying power.