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.
10/13 Update: The past week was a bit nerve wracking for some, featuring rain in areas across the state and near freezing temperatures in a few spots. In terms of the rain, many areas saw precipitation at some point Thursday through Sunday. Red Mountain reported 0.15 inches of precipitation, Pasco 0.41 inches, Yakima 0.21 inches, and Walla Walla 0.99 inches. Mainly this appears to have delayed picking in some places and led to wet harvest workers in others. No one I spoke with indicated significant concern regarding any effect on the grapes.
In terms of the cold, temperatures at the Washington State University weather station near Red Mountain dropped to 33 degrees on the 11th. Pepper Bridge Vineyard in Walla Walla also reported being close to freezing levels on the 12th. With clear skies forecast for the next few days, nighttime temperatures could dip down a bit lower than forecast (about 40 degrees give or take). Look for the wind machines to start getting some use. Still, no one I have spoken with has expressed alarm about the cooling temperatures yet. Many wineries do still have quite a ways to go with several people I spoke with estimating that they are somewhere between 30% and 45% through harvest at present.
As previously noted, many are reporting rot issues in the vineyard, in some cases insignificant and in some cases quite significant. While much of it is noble rot, some of it is not. The recent rain added to these concerns. One winemaker I spoke with reported dropping his entire crop of white grapes due to rot saying, “A tough call, but the quality just wasn’t going to be there.”
Vineyard manager Ryan Johnson, who manages multiple sites on Red Mountain, says, “We do need to keep an eye out for mold and rot, especially in the tighter-clustered, thinner-skinned varieties. Fruit is already soft from an extended season, so it's always nice if a stiff breeze blows away any residual moisture… Cab Sauv and Cab Franc are mostly weather-resistant and are looking great. No worries at this time...I hope!”
Hugh Shiels of DuBrul Vineyard says, “We were running about twelve days behind average picking dates, but the quality is right on the mark for our site. Our vineyard manager, Larry Dolan, sprays the whites to block fall problems, and this year it worked out great for us. So the Chardonnay came out clean, thanks to the spray and to our ladies good work. The Riesling has an added element of honey due to the ‘noble rot’ Botrytis in some of the berries, golden brown raisins, so it should be a beautiful Riesling year from our vineyard.”
Nicholas Quille of Pacific Rim reports, “Rieslings are trickling in and we are mainly picking based on rot levels. At this point we have brought in the most affected vineyards located in the Yakima Valley requiring rot thinning in the vineyard before harvesting. The rot has dried out and is therefore of good quality (noble rot, not sour). We are seeing very high acids in our Rieslings and good sugars. I imagine we will be done with the Yakima Valley within ten days. We have not started picking at Wallula, Brix around 20 and TA around 1.4 (ouch). I imagine Wallula is at least two weeks off which is consistent with our estimate that we are four weeks behind a normal season. No excessive risk of freeze in the next 10 days – we might just make it.”
Today's pictures courtesy of Gorman Winery (fermenting Syrah grapes), Kaella Winery (freshly picked Syrah with Viognier), and Robert Karl Cellars (Malbec after press).
See information on the Washington State Growing Degree Days here.
Monthly forecast for Yakima, Walla Walla, and Mattawa.
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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 here, or leave a comment on the WWR Facebook page.
|Isenhower||Marsanne||Desert Hills||10/11||Had two throw away 500 pounds of clusters with botrytis|
|Quilceda Creek||Cabernet||Galitzine||10/5|| |
|Seven Hills||Merlot||Artz||10/7||Fan trained vines|
|Mark Ryan||Viognier||Ciel du Cheval||10/8|| |
|CZ Cellars||Syrah||Ciel du Cheval||10/9||Brix of 24.1, TA of 0.63 and pH of 3.42|
|CZ Cellars||Malbec||Hedges||10/9||Brix of 22.3, TA of 0.47 and pH of 3.49|
|Florentino Wine||Grenache||Unknown||10/10|| |
|Ward Johnson||Syrah||Ranch at the End of the Road||10/11|| |
|Obelisco Estate||Cabernet||Estate||10/15||Weather permitting|
Walla Walla Valley
|Waters/Substance||Cabernet||Mars Hill||10/11|| |
|Amavi||Cabernet Franc||Waliser||10/13||For Cabernet Franc|
|SuLei Cellars||Cabernet Franc||Nostra Terra||10/13|| |
|Waters/Substance||Syrah||Old Stones||10/14|| |
|Waters/Substance||Grenache||Old Stones||10/15|| |
|Waters/Substance||Cabernet Franc||Waliser||10/15|| |
|Desert Wind||Syrah||Sacagawea||10/10|| |
|Forgeron Cellars||Primitivo||Unknown||10/13|| |
|Icicle Ridge||Merlot||Unknown||10/14|| |
|Hestia||Syrah||Stone Tree||10/14||Clone 7|
|SYZYGY||Merlot||Conner Lee||10/8||Unless rain delays|
|Kyra||Pinot Noir||Evergreen||10/8|| |
|Waiwai Canyon||Syrah||Estate||10/9||Last of Syrah|
|Cave B||Merlot||Estate||10/11||From oldest Merlot block|
|Trust||Cab Franc||Bacchus||10/11||For rose.|
|SYZYGY||Cabernet||Sagemoor||TBD||Anticipate before weekend|
Horse Heaven Hills
|Covey Run||Merlot||Alder Ridge||10/5||Block 2, 7|
|Covey Run||Gewürztraminer||Den Hoed||10/6|| |
|Covey Run||Merlot||Alder Ridge||10/6||Block 2, 6|
|Canon del Sol||Syrah||Champoux||10/7|| |
|Robert Karl||Cabernet||McKinley Springs||10/8|| |
|Domanico Cellars||Merlot||Alder Ridge||10/8|| |
|Woodward Canyon||Cabernet||Champoux||10/11||Block 1|
|Robert Karl||Cabernet||Phinny Hill||10/11|| |
|Cedar River Cellars||Cabernet||Portteus||10/9||Grapes are a bit larger than last year. About two weeks later than last year. 22 Brix (23-23.5 last year) Ph 3.65 (last year 3.56); TA 0.66 g/L (last year 0.75 g/L)|
|Rolling Bay||Chardonnay||Snipes||10/7|| |
|Four Lakes||Merlot||Estate||10/14|| |