For a grapevine in much of California, the 2020 vintage was defined by three factors: a dry winter, a cold spring, and fires. Happily, the Santa Rita Hills, the source of the 2020 ShunYi Pinot Noir, and the Santa Lucia Highlands, the source of the Chardonnay, were spared the brunt of the damage from the fires.
Although the winter of 2019-2020 was dry, the Santa Lucia Highlands is no stranger to drought, and the vines are well adapted to receiving very little winter rain. A combination of deep roots and a mild, foggy climate keeps water stress at a minimum level. The yields were a bit lower than average, and harvest came on the late side, but the fruit was extraordinary. Further south, in the Santa Rita Hills, the winter was similarly dry, and like in the Santa Lucia Highlands, water stress was low because the vines were adapted to the low water conditions. Like other drought-impacted years, yields were down, but concentration and flavor were exceptional.