The 2015 growing season in Napa Valley started out with unseasonably warm temperatures in the late winter and early spring. This resulted in an early bud break and bloom. Colder temperatures in May (during the peak of bloom) caused uneven fruit set which ultimately resulted in much smaller crop in 2015, compared to both average yields and also the three abundant years that preceded it. As a result, winemakers worked hand-in-hand with vineyard crews and also employed new technologies, like optical sorting, to ensure they picked and crushed only the best quality grapes. The harvest was one of the earliest on record in Napa Valley, beginning on July 22 with the picking of grapes for sparkling wine, and concluding for most all vintners and growers in the valley by mid-October. While ongoing drought was of great concern to farmers around California, Napa Valley received 75% of normal rainfall for the water year, bringing far fewer water concerns for Napa Valley's vintners. Perhaps the most notable natural occurrence of the year was the devastating Valley Fire that broke out in Lake County to the north in mid-September. Although the fire was tragic for the Lake County residents who lost their lives and their homes, prevailing winds blew the fire's smoke away from Napa Valley. At the time of harvest, there were no reports of smoke taint affecting Napa Valley wines.