SAN FRANCISCO — The 1985 California wine grape harvest, nourishment for the state's 662 registered wineries, is 95% complete, and the quality is "excellent to outstanding," the Wine Institute has announced.
"Every indicator so far points to a truly exceptional year," said the report.
Throughout the year, vintners have marveled over the near perfection of the even, non-frantic growth season. The fruit ripened slowly after a spring clear of ruinous frosts, and a summer free of flash rains and stagnant air that in some other years have demolished whole regions of fruit.
The institute, a major representative for the state's $5.4 billion industry, said that as of a week ago 2.65 million tons of grapes had been crushed statewide, with average yields down from earlier years.
Noting that the brief heat waves of early summer had resulted in smaller berries, the institute's report cited a silver lining in the cloud: "This often results in better varietal character."