Cabernet Franc Acreage Growing

Newest Livermore Valley vineyard comprises 13 acres of Loire Valley clone

As I’ve written here and here and here, I’m a big believer in the world-class quality potential of Cabernet Franc in the Livermore Valley. Consequences of climate change are not equally divided nor are they of the same effect in every wine region.

The Livermore Valley is defined by wind. Situated 40 miles inland from the San Francisco Bay and to the west of the very hot Central Valley, cold Bay air is drawn through the east-west oriented Livermore Valley practically every day during the growing season. Vines don’t like wind, and they shut down to preserve moisture. Sugar production also stops so it takes longer to get fruit ripe in a windy terroir. Typically, we are harvesting Cabernet Sauvignon into the middle of November, long after Napa is finished, and the steadily-increasing wind is lengthening the growing season. The longer we go into November the more marginal the weather becomes and the greater the potential for Cabernet Sauvignon to not get fully ripe.

Cabernet Franc, on the other hand, ripens a week or more earlier than Cab Sauv, giving us a window to bring in fully ripe fruit from which to make world-class wine.

Steven Kent Mirassou