Throughout the growing season and in anticipation of the coming vintage, the cellar was met with mixed feelings. The winter months were not kind to our area – a bitterly cold winter damaged buds throughout all varieties and vineyards, resulting in a much smaller crop. But as the growing season progressed and flowers bloomed and shoots grew, the vintage quickly turned spectacular. Several factors contributed to the high-quality year – a temperate and dry growing season, which allowed for moderate but not vigorous canopy growth, little to no disease pressure, and consistent small berry size, as well as some positive factors from winter damage like smaller berry and cluster size due to secondary buds pushing over primary and more nutrients and available water per cluster than higher-cropped years.
Our harvest season started off as it always does – with bubbles! Due to such a short supply of pinot noir, we decided to turn our typical Brut sparkling wine into a Blanc de Blanc instead, made of 100% chardonnay. We made Damiani history in 2022 by having our earliest ever pick – August 30th!
Labor Day brought the first real rain we had seen since early summer, much to our chagrin. But fortunately the rains stopped and didn’t really show up after that. As a winemaker, you’re faced with the sometimes very difficult decision of when to pick your grapes. You’re looking at the radar 15 million times a day, walking each vineyard and block, tasting the fruit, and ultimately deciding to either way – roll the dice. As the weeks progressed, we started to see a decline in maturity across all varieties. While things were lagging in sugar accumulation, the sun was shining and canopies were holding on, so flavors and phenolics were still ripening.
Across the board, every variety and vineyard that came into the cellar looked, smelled, and tasted wonderfully. Following the difficulties of the 2021 vintage, we were very excited to utilize some of my favorite winemaking techniques like whole cluster fermentations, wild yeast fermentations, foot stomping, cold soaking, saignée, minimal sulfur at juice stage, barrel fermented whites, and whole cluster pressing.
The resulting wines from the 2022 season are going to be strong, concentrated, acid-driven, and voluminous. Although the quantities are quite low, we are very proud of what we made and cannot wait to share it with you all!
Huge shout out to the outstanding Damiani Vineyard team of Nancy, Taylor, Cian, Nora, and Phil who tirelessly work all year long so us cellar folk get to play and create. To our amazing Assistant Winemaker, Alex, who in 2022 celebrated her first vintage with us and is an incredible person and winemaker. Jimmer and Dan, our fellow cellars rats, who had to put up with my 90s dance hits playlists as they energetically aided in the creation of these wines.