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2010 Harvest Report - September 29th Edition

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The 2010 Harvest is underway in Washington State. Over the coming weeks, I will provide weekly updates on what is picked, where, and when. See previous reports here.

9/29 Update: The big news this week has been an extended stretch of 80-degree days. The warm weather is expected to continue for the next ten-plus days, allowing some sites to make up ground after a cool growing season. Kent Waliser says, “The weather this week in Eastern Washington is a multi-million dollar gift. It will make many a winemakers' dream come true.”

This past week, numerous winemakers noted that flavor development is ahead of sugar development. Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery says, “This is the first vintage in a long time that grape flavor development is ahead of sugar accumulation, for which I am thrilled…We’ll let them ripen more over the next couple weeks but I’m very encouraged by the flavor this vintage.” Betz says that the key to making good wine this year will be taking into account the entire picture rather than looking at a single variable. He says, “We have to put 2010 in perspective and not just look at any single issue and think we’ve figured it out.”

Flavor development being ahead of sugar development has been somewhat difficult for many of the state’s newer winemakers. Kent Waliser of Sagemoor Vineyards says: “What is very obvious is winemaker confusion. The standard recipes aren’t working so they are going to have to make wine. It is fun to watch.” Eric Murphy says this has also lead to some interesting numbers for the grapes. “An interesting trend in the last 1.5 weeks is a disproportionate drop in TA numbers vs. Brix/pH rise. TA is dropping by 1g/L with pH hardly moving and Brix increases of 1-1.5 degrees,” Murphy says.

One concern about the delayed and potentially compressed harvest is that a large amount of fruit may come in during a short period of time. For Washington’s numerous small wineries that have limited space and equipment, this presents a potential challenge (in addition to many long nights). One winemaker joked that this will be the “year of the pick bin,” with bins pressed into action to double as fermenters.

While there is still much to be concerned about regarding the 2010 harvest, grower Dick Boushey puts things in perspective by saying, “In regards to the 2010 harvest, yes it is worrisome but I haven't had one that wasn't and I think we could potentially have a great vintage if the season holds out.” Josh Lawrence of Lawrence Vineyards agrees, saying, “This is a nerve-racking and exciting year wrapped into one… I feel in the long run this will be a fantastic vintage.”

Comann Dinn of Hogue Cellars sums up the feelings of many by saying, “The word for this harvest is patience.” Winemaker Zach Brettler of SYZYGY agrees, saying, “I fight my ever increasing impatience to start. It’s a time where I don't even want to see other winemakers and hear other opinions. Its time for me to walk the vineyards daily, hear what they have to say and trust my instincts.”

In terms of weather, several locations in eastern Washington saw rain on Thursday 9/23 with rumors of hail in some spots. None of the people I spoke with expressed concern about the rain. Some do have concerns of noble rot (and some are looking forward to it!) and some have concern of not so noble rot.

See information on the Washington State Growing Degree Days here.

* * *

The information in the table below is aggregated from personal correspondence with growers and winemakers, as well as information posted on Twitter and Facebook. It is not intended to be comprehensive but rather is intended as a snapshot of what is going on around the state. If you wish to send data for your grapes or vineyards (or correct any of the information below), please email me at wawinereport@gmail.com, leave a comment below, or leave a comment on the WWR Facebook page.

First picture courtesy of Lawrence Vineyards. Second picture courtesy of Ryan Johnson of Grand Reve Vineyard showing the first (legal) harvesting of fruit.

Winery

Grape

Vineyard

Date

Notes

Yakima Valley

Waterbrook

Chardonnay

W & J

9/22

Exactly 10 days later than last year

Betz Family Winery

Merlot

Red Willow

9/25

All are registering 24.2-25.25

Flying Dreams

Sauvignon Blanc

Red Willow

9/25


Salida

Tempranillo

Sugarloaf

9/28

23.5 brix with a pH of 3.54. Wonderful acidity and excellent flavors. Latest ever begun crush.

NA

Merlot

Meek Family

10/1

24.4 Brix

Naches Heights

Tempranillo

Two Coyote

TBD

Recorded on 9/25

Red Mountain

Soos Creek

Merlot

Ciel du Cheval

9/22

All exceptional and low brix.

Soos Creek

Merlot

Klipsun

9/22

All exceptional and low brix.

Betz Family Winery

Merlot

Ciel du Cheval

9/23

All are registering 24.2-25.25

Betz Family Winery

Merlot

Kiona

9/25

All are registering 24.2-25.25

Betz Family Winery

Syrah

Ranch at the End of the Road

9/25

All are registering 24.2-25.25

Kiona

Chardonnay

Estate

9/25


Obelisco

Merlot

Estate

9/27

Finish harvesting Merlot 9/27. Probably average 24 Brix. Cabernet and Malbec around 23+.

Grand Reve

Merlot

Estate

9/27

Picked from high density block, inaugural picking

Barrister

Sauvignon Blanc

Klipsun

9/27

9/7 last year

Grand Reve

Syrah

Grand Reve

TBD

Brix: El Terror-24.9; El Guapo-23.8; El Hueso-22.3 as of 9/26

Walla Walla Valley

Sinclair Estate

Cabernet

Heather Hills

TBD

22.1 on 9/22

Sinclair Estate

Merlot

Pepper Bridge

TBD

23.5 on 9/22

Seven Hills

Merlot

McClellan Estate

9/22


Seven Hills

Merlot

Seven Hills

9/22


Sweet Valley

Merlot

Forgotten Hills

9/27


Waters

Merlot

Seven Hills

9/28


Waters

Viognier

Old Stones

9/28


NA

Merlot

Windrow

9/29


NA

Merlot

Pepper Bridge

9/29

North Block.

Waters

Syrah

Markham Banks

10/1


Substance

Merlot

Mars Hill

10/1


Wahluke Slope

Westport Winery

Merlot

Jones of WA

9/21

23.5 Brix. Really happy with the juice flavor.

Steppe Cellars

Merlot

Stone Tree

9/22


Brian Carter

Merlot

Stone Tree

9/24


DiStefano

Semillon

Rosebud Ranch

9/28


Ch. Faire Le Point

Merlot

Riverbend

9/29


NA

Chardonnay

Weinbau

10/1

Harvesting just beginning this week.

Columbia Valley

Soos Creek

Merlot

Bacchus

9/22

All exceptional and low brix.

aMaurice

Merlot

Dionysus

9/24


Rasa Vineyards

Merlot

Dionysus

9/27


Cave B

Chardonnay

Estate

9/27


Rasa Vineyards

Riesling

Dionysus

9/28


aMaurice

Chardonnay

Conner Lee

9/29

First vineyard designate

NA

Chardonnay

Sagemoor

10/1

Harvesting to be completed this week.

NA

Cabernet

Lawrence

TBD

21 Brix as of last week

NA

Syrah

Lawrence

TBD

20 Brix as of last week

Horse Heaven Hills

Soos Creek

Merlot

Champoux

9/22

All exceptional and low brix.

Betz Family Winery

Merlot

Alder Ridge

9/23

All are registering 24.2-25.25 Brix






Fidelitas

Merlot

Champoux

9/24


Robert Karl

Sauvignon Blanc

McKinley Springs

9/27


Novelty Hill

Merlot

Alder Ridge

9/28


Robert Karl

Malbec/Merlot

McKinley Springs or Andrews

TBD

McKinley Springs or Merlot from Andrews HH Ranch 9/29 & 10/1

Washington State

Wawawai Canyon

Sauvignon Blanc

Estate

9/26


Snipes Mountain

NA

Tempranillo

Snipes

9/24


NA

Merlot

Snipes

9/28


NA

Pinot Gris

Snipes

10/1


Lake Chelan

Hard Row to How

Orange Muscat

South Shore area

9/28


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