Highlights From Our 2019 Vineyard Harvest
Written By Jean Sexton
Our Team at Work
In 2019, Biltmore’s vineyard produced 177.5 tons of grapes on approximately 45 acres of mature vitis vinifera vines—that’s almost double last year’s output.
“Harvest began on August 22, and that’s the earliest start I remember in more than 20 years,” said Philip Oglesby, Vineyard Supervisor. “We picked until October 11, and the weather cooperated with long, hot, dry days that allowed the grapes to mature to their full potential.”
With an average yield of more than four tons per acre, our 2019 harvest can be considered one of the best in recent memory.
Quantity and quality
In addition to the quantity, the quality of fruit produced in 2019 was outstanding. Weather played an important role in the process as relatively mild spring temperatures gave way to the kind of hot, dry summer conditions that create earlier-than-normal ripening times.
“As always, we look forward to the fine wines that will be handcrafted following the harvest—especially our Biltmore® Reserve wines that are created from estate-grown grapes,” Philip said. “This special designation represents our finest local vintages and our continued commitment to our agricultural heritage.”
Highlights from Biltmore’s vineyards:
- Cabernet Franc 37 tons on 8.2 acres
- Cabernet Sauvignon 32 tons on 10.2 acres
- Chardonnay 103 tons on 25 acres
- Merlot 5.5 tons on 1.2 acres
Total: 177.5 tons on 44.6 acres
Highlights from our partner vineyards
Biltmore winemaker Sharon Fenchak selected approximately 160 tons of grapes from the state of Washington (America’s second largest producer of wine grapes), with average brix (measurement for the number of grams of sugar present per 100 grams of liquid) around 25, which is comparable to last year.
- September was very rainy and a hard freeze in early October preventing the grapes from ripening further.
- Varietals: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvedre, Petite Verdot, and Tempranillo.
- Increased selection by 12% compared to 2018.
Sharon selected approximately 25 different varietals from multiple growing regions throughout the state with an average brix of 23, which was slightly higher than 2018.
- Arroyo Seco, CA
- Approximately 18,000 acres located along the central coast in Monterey County.
- Cold winter, mild-but-wet spring, and a few summertime heat spikes left grapes with a little more hang-time and a later harvest by about 2–3 weeks.
- Varietals: Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Mendocino County, CA
- North coast; 14, 512 acres includes 10 different American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) with very diverse climates.
- Wet spring and late bud break gave way to moderate weather for most of the growing season; yields were light-to-average, with good fruit quality for the vintage.
- Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir.
- Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, CA
- About 15,000 acres of vineyards; known for cool-climate grapes.
- Heavy rain in late winter and a wet spring led to a moderate yield with a good and healthy crop.
- Varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.
- We selected about 120 tons of fruit from the region, with the majority being Pinot Noir, of which about half will be handcrafted to become Vanderbilt Reserve wines.
Savor Biltmore Wines
Whether you’re visiting the estate and enjoying complimentary tastings at our Winery or stocking up on your favorite varietals in your neighborhood or online, we invite you to savor our award-winning wines today!