Happy Cabernet Day!

Growers Ponder Future Of Napa's Quintessential Grape

All News KCBS Radio
August 30, 2019 - 11:29 am
A worker empties a bin of freshly picked cabernet sauvignon wine grapes at the Stags' Leap Winery September 27, 2004 in Napa, California.

Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images


More than 150 years ago, the first cabernet sauvignon vine was planted in the Napa Valley by Charles Krug and the region has been growing it ever since.

But on this Cabernet Day, winemakers in the valley wonder whether the grape will continue to thrive there due to climate change. 

"What we're doing is getting better and better, a little more European from the standpoint of we now know what grows best," said Judd Wallenbrock of the Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena.

Growing wine is a delicate art and the change of a couple of degrees could drastically alter the quantity and quality of future harvest.

"That's the talk that's on the street," said Wallenbrock, adding that "there's definitely a concern about that."

He said that within the past 50 years, there's been a noticeable change as to where grapes grow best. 

To be safe, he said that, "you keep your eye on it, without a doubt, and you experiment as much as you possibly can with other varietals."

But, he predicts that Napa's iconic grape doesn't appear headed to lose its place anytime soon.

"For the foreseeable future it's certainly going to be cabernet country," said Wallenbrock, "and cabernet will be king in Napa Valley for several more decades."