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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
|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|| |
23.5 brix with a pH of 3.54. Wonderful acidity and excellent flavors. Latest ever begun crush.
|Naches Heights||Tempranillo||Two Coyote||TBD||Recorded on 9/25|
|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|
|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||Pepper Bridge||9/29||North Block.|
|Waters||Syrah||Markham Banks||10/1|| |
|Substance||Merlot||Mars Hill||10/1|| |
|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.|
|Soos Creek||Merlot||Bacchus||9/22||All exceptional and low brix.|
|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|
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|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|
|Wawawai Canyon||Sauvignon Blanc||Estate||9/26|| |
|NA||Pinot Gris||Snipes||10/1|| |
|Hard Row to How||Orange Muscat||South Shore area||9/28|| |