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Washington 2010 Harvest Update - September 22nd

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reminder: September's Virtual Tasting is this Thursday from 7-8pm Pacific Time. Read more about it here.

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

One of this week’s updates comes from Jonathan Sauer at Red Willow and Les Vignes de Marcoux vineyards in the Yakima Valley. Red Willow, one of the state’s finest vineyards, is the furthest western vineyard within the Yakima Valley. Sauer says that while the vineyard is not a particularly warm site, it is typically an early vineyard.

Sauer is just beginning harvest this Thursday, starting with Gewurztraminer. Of the 2010 vintage, Sauer says, “The early season varietals look phenomenal this year. Typically we would pick the fruit much riper than this, however this year it seems that the flavor development is ahead of Brix which is a complete contrast to last season.” Red Mountain vineyard manager Ryan Johnson agrees saying there are, “amazing flavors at low Brix across the board.”

Sauer says that some grapes at Red Willow are behind, saying, “Many of our Cab and Sangio blocks are around 20.5 Brix right now and will use as much season as the year will give us.”

Winemaker James Mantone of Syncline Wine Cellars says that the winery has not yet begun harvesting grapes. Mantone, however, is not concerned. He says this "may be the best Syrah harvest I've seen in my eleven years in Washington."

Many growers have likened the 2010 vintage to 1999. Sauer, who has been collecting data from a weather station near Red Willow since 1998 says that 1999 was the coolest year followed by 2010, which is about 50 units warmer. In comparing 2010 with 1999 Johnson says, “Wineries that enjoy the results from 1999 should not be afraid to trust their palates.”

The picture at the top shows Pinot Noir grapes at Evergreen Vineyard, courtesy of Kyra Wines. Grower Mike Wade of Fielding Hills sent along pictures from his Riverbend Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope. The first picture shows seeds from Merlot grapes, one manner of assessing ripeness. Another picture shows juice from Riverbend grapes along with technical information.

The information in the table below is aggregated from personal correspondence with growers and winemakers, as well as information posted on Twitter and Facebook. 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.

Winery

Grape

Vineyard

Date

Notes

Yakima Valley

Desert Wind

Gewurztraminer

Estate

9/18


CAVU

Sauvignon Blanc

Lonesome Spring

9/21


Hard Row to Hoe

Sauvignon Blanc

Lonesome Spring

9/22


--NA--

Gewurztraminer

Red Willow

9/23

First grapes to be harvested

--NA--

Merlot

Red Willow

9/24

Currently 24 Brix

--NA--

Syrah

Red Willow

TBD

Mid to late next week

--NA--

Cabernet

Red Willow

TBD

20.5 Brix

Red Mountain

L’Ecole No. 41

Sauvignon Blanc

Klipsun

9/21


Cadence

Merlot

Cara Mia

9/21


--NA--

Merlot

Ciel du Cheval

9/22

Beginning to pick. 24.0 Brix to 25.0 Brix

DiStefano

Merlot

RMV

9/22


CZ Cellars

Merlot

Shaw

9/25


Walla Walla Valley

Woodward Canyon

Sauvignon Blanc

Dolcetto

Chardonnay

Estate

Estate

Estate

9/15

9/20

9/21

Hoping to pick Merlot later this week

Three Rivers

Merlot

Seven Hills

9/21


L’Ecole No. 41

Merlot

Seven Hills

9/21


Reininger

Merlot

Seven Hills

9/21


Gramercy

Syrah

SJR

9/21

¼ picked. Tempranillo close. Les Collines Syrah close.

Amavi Cellars

Merlot

Seven Hills

9/22


Wahluke Slope

L’Ecole No. 41

Merlot

Stone Tree

9/21


Fielding Hills

Merlot

Cabernet

Syrah

Cabernet Franc

Riverbend

Riverbend

Riverbend

Riverbend

TBD

TBD

TBD

TBD

23.3 Brix 9/20

22.2 Brix 9/20

19.6 Brix 9/20

19.4 Brix 9/20

Estimate will start picking Merlot next week

Columbia Valley

Pacific Rim

Riesling

Wallula

TBD

Between 15-22 Brix

Pacific Rim

Gewurztraminer

Wallula

TBD

21 Brix

Snipes Mountain

Ch Ste. Michelle

Sauvignon Blanc

Upland

9/22


Lake Chelan

Hard Row to Hoe

Riesling

Cabernet Franc

Estate

Estate

TBD

15.2 Brix

16.3 Brix

| edit post

17 comments

  1. james Says:
  2. Sean,
    The Wallula Gap vineyard is not Columbia Gorge.

     
  3. Thanks for the correction James.

     
  4. Anonymous Says:
  5. You may want to check with Todd Newhouse of Upland Vineyards to see how Snipes Mountain is doing.

    Alphonse de Klerk

     
  6. Thanks Alphonse. Reached out to Todd yesterday but haven't heard anything back yet. Hope to include the information in next week's update.

     
  7. Kim Roberts Says:
  8. We picked up Merlot from Jones of Washington yesterday (9/21) at 23.5 brix. Really happy with the juice flavor.
    Kim Roberts
    Westport Winery

     
  9. Kim, thanks for the update!

     
  10. terroirist Says:
  11. Heard an interesting comment from a winemaker today.... "This will either be the best vintage or the worst vintage in recent memory" - (depending on the timing of the first frost).

     
  12. Terroirist, a great quote. Crossing my fingers that the cold weather comes late!

     
  13. Update for Snipes Mountain from Todd's surrogate. Picking Tempranillo this Friday the 24th, Syrahs are a week out. Cabernets (Sauvs and Francs) are generally very early here but this year are more in line with the other warm areas in the State and hovering in the 22 brix range. Garnacha (I'm sorry Grenache) is already at 23+ brix. Riesling is surprisingly on pace with past years. Great site any year, the best site this year.

    Javier Alfonso
    Pomum Cellars

     
  14. Javier, thanks for the Snipes update. People are pretty excited about that site.

     
  15. Chris Says:
  16. Tested the Riesling from OS Fruit (Vineheart) yesterday which is where I, and many other home winemakers, source their fruit. 20.32 Brix, acids still high, will give it hang time. Last year at this time we were 2 weeks from first freeze on 10/10 but I picked my Riesling on 10/24 because this knob north of Prosser is a well drained site. If they hang that long again this year, it should make a good wine. If I don't screw it up.

     
  17. Chris, thanks for the update. Much appreciated.

     
  18. I don't quite agree with the anonymous quote restated by Terroirist. It's not either going to be the worst or best vintage. While I always stay away from early predictions; we are close enough to this one that nothing we can comfortably state that earlier varietals at warmer sites are positioned to make great wines. Fortunately, the weather gods have provided a nice somewhat above average temperature forecast for the predictable next 7 plus days. That certainly makes me feel better about later varietals at cooler sites. Lastly, I would suggest that while the unusual growing season looks to have positioned some sites to pick lower brix fruit with excellent flavors, we have seen sugars climb at some sites in the last week or so to those more common higher Brix numbers (25 plus) with acids that are still too high to pick (by flavor, not just numbers). I see some beautiful fruit out there close to being ready, but have yet to start harvest. I make no whites and my first pick is normally Seven Hills Syrah. Zach B., SYZYGY.

     
  19. The word "nothing" in the 3rd sentence of my post was unintended (thanks iPhone).. Should read "that we can comfortably state). Assume Sean can fix :)

     
  20. Zach, thanks for the comment and I wish that my magical powers could fix the comment! Such an interesting year. With everything trending cooler even into September, suddenly we are faced with a week-plus of above average temperatures! Seemingly just what the doctor ordered. I will be posting another harvest update this Wednesday.

     
  21. Tempranillo / Grenache / Merlot coming off Wednesday from Horse Heaven and Red Mountain. We are certainly seeing some very nice flavor development in vineyard sites with well balanced crop tonnage. 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. Syrah from Rattlesnake Hills and Horse Heaven seems to be holding above 7 g/L TA, with brix approaching 23.5. Likely to start by the end of the weekend into next week for Syrah. Cab Sauv on Red Mountain seems like it will be a week +, but not at the lower brix I was hoping for. Happy Harvest!

     
  22. Eric, thanks for the update. I will be including some of this information in my harvest update tomorrow. What vineyard sources are you using from Horse Heaven and Red Mountain?

     

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