Patch Media

2023 Predicted To Be Vintage Of A Lifetime In Napa Valley

Nick Muccitelli logo

Growers and winemakers’ patience with the long harvest was rewarded with an exceptional, age-worthy vintage.

2023 Predicted To Be Vintage Of A Lifetime In Napa Valley

Harvest at the Renteria 360 Vineyard in Oakville, California. (Photo by Sarah Anne Risk/Napa Valley Vintners )

SAINT HELENA, CA — Coming off the heels of the longest Napa Valley growing season in a decade, vintners were glowing with the expectancy of the truly noteworthy 2023 vintage. Some have proposed it to be one of the greats while others claim it might be the vintage of a lifetime, Napa Valley Vintners and Napa Valley Grapegrowers said in a recent news release.

“Every century, every place has its legendary vintages,” said Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible and a Napa Valley resident. “I have no doubt that 2023 will go down as one of the most phenomenal vintages ever in Napa Valley. Every vintner I’ve talked to about 2023 has been nothing short of ecstatic.”

In a video MacNeil released about the 2023 harvest, winemakers describe the wines as having freshness, purity and elegance overall with deep-colored red wines and a full range of flavors from sites across the valley.

Higher-than-average rainfall kicked off the 2023 growing season, and grape growers reported full soil profiles with plenty of moisture, which led to a successful bloom. Due to cooler spring weather, the growing season began 10-14 days behind the 2022 season.

“The remainder of the growing season was a mild one,” said Brittany Pederson, director of viticulture for Renteria Vineyard Management. “Cooler growing conditions meant extended hang time for grapes. Knowing we’d likely harvest into November, it was our job to ripen the fruit and keep it protected long enough to hang through the extended time frame.”

Relatively cool weather in tandem with an abundance of sunshine allowed grape skins to ripen slowly and develop maximal dark red color components for red wines. With 2023’s long growing season, full ripeness of grape skins and seeds provided the building blocks for the red wines’ tannic backbone.

“Ripe, rich tannins are the wine’s source of resilience and provide the elements for a long-lived wine,” said Jim Duane, winemaker at Seavey Vineyard. “The deep red color is a signal of a stand-out vintage, especially with Cabernet.”

Aside from Sauvignon Blanc, which was harvested as early as Labor Day weekend, most varieties ripened in October. This simultaneous ripening meant grape growers and wineries coordinated picks based on tank space in the cellar, and communication among partnerships was key. As always, everyone remained nimble, taking the challenges in stride.

“Every harvest we ‘add to our belts’ so to speak, as each one delivers a new experience and learning lesson,” Pederson said. “2023 was no exception.”

With consistent, mild weather throughout the season, above-average crop yields, and extended hang time, grape growers and winemakers reported an exceptional, high-quality, memorable vintage in 2023.

According to Napa Valley Vintners and Napa Valley Grapegrowers, the mild growing season has the Napa Valley agricultural community excited about the 2023 vintage. Here’s why.

  • Winter and spring rains led to full reservoirs and healthy, saturated soils, ideal conditions as grape growers headed into bud break
  • The mild, warm summer weather (72-75 degrees) supported healthy canopy growth through bloom and set
  • Though vineyards faced mildew pressure, clusters remained loose for good airflow, berries were small with concentrated flavors and the weather remained consistent
  • Harvest kicked off around Labor Day weekend (Sept. 2-4) for white wine grapes; Cabernet Sauvignon harvest started at end of September/early-October; all picks wrapped up by mid-November
  • Grape growers and winemakers relished the long harvest season, which provided varieties with extended hang time to develop flavors true to their unique locations

To learn more about Napa Valley’s harvest, visit and watch the 2023 Napa Valley Vintage Report. A recap of the season was presented in a press conference which can be viewed here.

Napa Valley Vintners is a nonprofit trade association representing 550 members, helping them consistently produce wines of the highest quality, provide environmental leadership and care for the extraordinary place they call home.

Napa Valley Grapegrowers is a nonprofit organization that represents 685 Napa County grape growers and associated businesses and has played a vital role in strengthening Napa Valley’s reputation as a world-class viticultural region.