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2015 winegrape harvest ends early with low yield and small, flavor-filled grapes

Alta Colina, Paso Robles - 2015

Winemakers on the Central Coast say the 2015 harvest started and ended early with a low yield. 

The Wine Institute in San Francisco said 2015 saw one of the earliest seasons on record with most grapes being harvested prior to the end of September.

A warm winter followed by a chilly May contributed to smaller grape clusters which many winemakers believe are the basis for quality wines.

Bob Tillman founded Alta Colina Winery in Paso Robles and says he's excited about the potential for this harvest.

"You tend to have  more concentrated both flavors and aromas, and color," said Tillman. "Basically that berry is loaded with the precursors that create all of those things and there is less liquid to spread it over, so it's more highly concentrated and it's very likely we're going to see some outstanding wines come out of this harvest."

Despite the positive outlook, winemakers say the drought is starting to take a toll on vineyards. When asked whether he's crossing his fingers for heavy El Niño rains, Tillman said "crossing your fingers is a tremendous understatement."

The first white wines from this year's harvest should be available in the spring. Red wines will follow after that.