Higher quality and smaller quantity make for sought-after grapes

MENDOCINO, CALIFORNIA – November 9, 2020 – Upon surveying growers and vintners across the region the Mendocino WineGrowers (MWI) is happy to announce that the 2020 vintage is showing amazing quality with smaller berries, intense flavor and great color.  MWI predicts that the 2020 vintage will be highly in demand due to a 10-30% smaller crop yield this year versus previous years, which is attributed to a larger than average harvests in 2018 and 2019.  With smaller yields but a higher quality grape, 2020 is set to be a coveted year for collectors of Mendocino wines and buyers of Mendocino grapes.

Although the region did receive smoke exposure due to the fires in neighboring counties, the exposure and taint of the harvest in the end was extremely limited and much less than anticipated.  Smoke that arrived in the county had to travel a significant distance to reach Mendocino and was not “fresh” smoke as it took days to arrive from neighboring fires.  Most wineries are seeing little to no smoke taint on wines from 2020 and lab analysis on fermented wines cites below threshold levels.

“The 2020 vintage will be one for collectors as the quality vs. quantity ratio is making this a vintage to be remembered. Previous concerns about the smoke from fires has proven less significant than imagined as Mendocino County Winegrowers have the experience and knowledge on how to manage smoke exposure. Growers picked fruit by hand at many vineyards, and wineries used gentle press protocols. Whole cluster pressing helped retain the fresh grape quality for whites. Fruit pressed very gently equals lower yields at the press but higher quality for the final wine. Another win for consumers of our wines,” said Bernadette Byrne, Executive Director of Mendocino WineGrowers, Inc. “Even thin-skinned varietals like Zinfandel from Redwood Valley, which had some smoke exposure concerns, was fabulous this year. The quality was great across all varietals from Sauvignon Blanc to Petite Sirah,” added Byrne.

Mendocino saw an incredibly early harvest which meant that the white grapes such as Chardonnay, which is widely planted, had significantly less exposure to any smoke as they were already harvested before the smoke events.  An early harvest also means that grapes ripened at a steady pace and were not left languishing on the vine waiting to get ripe before winter frosts and inclement weather.

Mendocino WineGrowers Website:


Mendocino WineGrowers Inc (MWI) is an alliance of grape growers and vintners working together to promote the grapes and wines from Mendocino County.  The group was formed in 2012 to promote the quality and image of Mendocino County grapes and wine with three target audiences: 1) decision-makers who buy grapes, 2) press and trade groups who write about, sell, or recommend wine, and 3) consumers who buy wine.  MWI is run by the Executive Director, Bernadette Byrne, and a volunteer Board of Directors.

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