Hands sorting through freshly picked grapes

Opolo 2022 Harvest Update: Early Returns

The 2022 summer growing season has been marked by dry conditions and warm, steady temperatures across the Opolo estates. An early September hot spell promises to kick ripening into a higher gear heading into fall. Here’s the latest from the vineyards and cellar at Opolo:

Strong and Steady

While many wineries in Paso Robles are reporting lower yields and early pick dates, our vineyards are enjoying strong yields and a more normal picking timeline. 

According to winemakers James Schreiner and Chris Rougeot, this is attributable to our annual regimen of sustainable soil inputs that improve nutrient uptake and moisture retention. Inputs include natural cover crops (legumes, barley, etc.) planted between the vine rows before spring and natural composts applied after harvest. This creates a healthier soil environment that helps sustain vine vigor throughout the growing season.

Pushing the Envelope

One early rarity seen in the winery toward the end of August was a batch of “skin contact” Viognier destined for the 2022 Willow Blanc white blend, which will come wholly from our Willow Creek District estates—including our new To The Moon Vineyard. This particular Viognier fruit was destemmed and lightly crushed, then transferred to small bins for extended skin contact spanning up to eight hours before pressing and fermentation. 

While skin contact is routine with red wines, it is rarely employed with whites. However, James and Chris plan for up to 80 percent of the 2022 Willow Blanc to be composed of skin-contact Viognier and Roussanne. They love how this method brings exotic textures and elevated mouthfeel to this signature Opolo Reserve wine.

Harvest at Opolo Vineyards
Grapes fermenting
2022 harvest at Opolo Vineyards