CALIFORNIA -- California's grape harvest is coming early this year and that could be good news for wine lovers.
Growers usually have to wait until August for the first signs of ripening, but grapes are already turning red. Napa Valley wineries say the weather hasn't been this warm since 1997, a year that produced a highly regarded vintage. The same thing happened in 2009.
"Everything just kind of shifts a couple of weeks," said Brooks Painter, the director of wine making at V. Sattui Winery in St. Helena, Calif.
Painter said the fruit is already turning red. An early crop can have its benefits, usually in the form of distinctive vintages.
"I'm anticipating that the flavor development is going to be just fabulous, and acid balance in the grapes will be just great this year," Painter said.
That should hold true for both red and white wines.
We can likely expect fruit-intensive wines from a very abundant crop. Wine grapes are one of California's top commodities, a crop worth $3.2 billion on the vine last year that created more than $34 billion worth of wine.