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Harvest. For winemakers, no other word is loaded with so much potential and anticipation. After a long growing season of endless work in the vineyards, it’s time to see what nature delivered. On the West Coast in 2013, most vintners are reporting a great year, a twin to the promising 2012. In many parts of Europe, however, it’s another year of challenging conditions and low yields.

In the first of five 2013 vintage reports, California winegrowers up and down the coast are celebrating a long, sunny year. After last year’s high quality and high yields, 2013 offers more of the same. The one lingering concern is persistent drought conditions that could mean trouble down the road. As for final quality in the bottle, it’s too early to know, but here’s a sneak peek.