Fetzer Vineyards successfully completes its challenging 2020 harvest

After a year impacted by the pandemic and forest fires, our Californian winery managed, thanks to the perseverance and teamwork of its workers, to successfully complete its 2020 season.

Although Fetzer Vineyards’s devotion to quality in winegrowing was tested in 2020 by COVID-19 and an historic wildfire season, thanks to the incredible perseverance and teamwork of every person in our organization, they ultimately overcame significant challenges to bring in a vintage worth remembering.

Harvest Snapshot

With more than 10 years of experience working with wine grapes amidst late summer- and autumn-timed wildfires, our winemaking team is adept at stewarding quality winemaking amidst the conditions we saw in California this year. Fetzer Vineyards’s experienced winemakers diligently evaluated every lot of grapes coming into the winery for smoke taint, utilizing quality-confirming micro-fermentation of grapes on arrival. Ultimately, close to 100% of grapes coming out of micro-fermentation evaluations were sound, and we were able to fill our tanks and our winery with fruit of excellent quality, creating a vintage of which we can all be proud.

The 2019-2020 growing season began with dry conditions throughout most of California. These conditions, combined with warmer late winter temperatures, kicked off a slightly early bud break in many regions, leading to an earlier harvest. Early-season frost pressure lightened crop loads, leading to enhanced quality on balanced vines and smaller berry sizes with concentrated flavors. Harvest culminated October 19 on our estate vineyards in Mendocino County with a Cabernet Sauvignon pick. Overall, the concentration and colors are high, acid levels are typical, and quality across whites and reds is looking great.

“As far as wine quality, this is a great vintage—which has been the silver lining of the whole thing,” noted Fetzer Vineyards winemaker Margaret Leonardi. “There’s so much going on this year that’s so unprecedented—so many extra hoops to go through. Everything takes a little longer, so it’s nice to have some normality. The wines are just tasting so good,” she concluded.

Sustainability Spotlight

Fetzer Vineyards completed its second harvest with over 90% of its purchased grapes coming from certified sustainable or organic vineyards. If anything, challenges including wildfires remind us of the importance of our climate policy advocacy work, sustainable approach across our business, and B Corp values of using business as a force for good.

Fetzer Vineyards successfully completes its challenging 2020 harvest