The 2022 harvest season is upon us, bringing excitement and anticipation to DAOU Mountain.
According to Winemaker Daniel Daou, we can expect intense flavors and elevated phenolics from the 2022 vintage.
“So far, this vintage is reminiscent of 2013 and 2014, which gave us lower yields but intense wines,” Daniel says. “I would summarize the growing season as very dry but normal in temperature patterns.”
Yet while temperatures have been steady, the grapes are coming in early this year due to the drought conditions. “This vintage will likely be one of the earliest on record for us,” Daniel says. “Across the board, we are around two to three weeks earlier than normal.”
Daniel is sensitive to the environmental impacts of the drought. Consequently, he does everything possible to conserve water in the vineyard. In fact, he has worked with Dr. Luca Brillante at Fresno State University over the past three years to develop a state-of-the-art irrigation intelligence system.
“Many California vineyards water their vines four to six gallons per week,” Daniel notes. “At DAOU, we target four to six gallons per vine for the whole year in most blocks. Not only does this provide for better quality—it also allows us to conserve water as a precious resource.”
Daniel says that the current drought should result in lower yields and higher phenolics based on the smaller berry size of the grapes. He expects Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc to excel in these conditions.
Meanwhile, despite the rigors of the season, Daniel’s passion and enthusiasm for harvest still run high.
“Harvest is always a new beginning for me,” he says. “It gives me a chance to put my creative skills to work and to make new expressions in the bottle. It’s always a magical time and one that challenges me to adapt to different conditions year after year.”