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2010 Harvest Report - October 20th Edition

Wednesday, October 20, 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.

10/20 Update: Nighttime temperatures dropped precipitously in eastern Washington over the last week. Many areas reported lows at or slightly below 32 degrees. However, through the work of wind machines and in some cases the apparent generosity of Mother Nature, most areas avoided a frost which would have put a punctuation mark on the growing season.

Still, as the days grow shorter and the daytime highs drop, many areas are not accumulating many heat units at this point. Growers continue however to hang fruit to get every last bit of sun the season provides. The biggest concern at present is a wet weather predicted to move into the area this weekend.

Columbia Valley’s Sagemoor Vineyards reports being about 75% complete with harvest as of the 19th. Completed varieties include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Barbera, Malbec, Carmenère, Sangiovese, Roussanne, and Syrah. Cabernet Franc is approximately 75% harvested, White Riesling about 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 25%, and Petit Verdot 20%.

Sagemoor General Manager Kent Waliser says, “The most heard comment now is ‘I would just like the acidity come down a bit before I pick.’ Consequently there is a bit of chicken being played with the weather. Leaving fruit out there as long as possible to get the most change possible before the weather demands the fruit be picked seems to be the call of the day.”

While 2010 has been an unusual growing season by all accounts, many are extremely excited about the vintage, especially about Merlot. Dustin Tobin at Milbrandt Vineyards says, “From the looks of it this is a Merlot vintage. Every single lot of Merlot that is in house is looking great. We did not have any bad fruit come in the winery so far this vintage.”

Waliser agrees that 2010 has been a good year for one of Washington’s best grapes, saying, “Comments that are very positive keep being delivered back to the vineyard. Color, color, color, flavor, flavor, flavor are at the forefront. Winemakers seem continually shocked at the color, merlot especially, and usually we know if the color is there the wines will be great.” Still he says, the 2010 season has been confusing to many, saying, “I think some wineries are having trouble accepting what this growing season has given us. Many are used to the last ten years and want to make those wines. This is just different.”

Given that flavor maturity preceded sugar levels this growing season, many expect to produce lower alcohol wines than have been seen in many years. Ben Smith at Cadence Winery says that the 2010 vintage will provide wineries with a unique opportunity to display different styles. Smith says, “This vintage is going to clearly separate winemaking styles from different houses. Winemakers have had the unique opportunity to make wine with fully mature flavors at historically low alcohol levels should they choose to do so. Or they could wait for acids to drop, sugars to reach recent norms, and make lower acid, riper feeling wines at alcohol levels similar to recent warm vintages.”

While Mother Nature will dictate how long the growing season continues, 2010 will be a season to remember. Milbrandt’s Tobin estimates that harvest will be completed the first week of November. He says, “We are still waiting for our big Evergreen Vineyard push. All of our later ripening white varieties are still hanging up north at Evergreen.” Waliser says, “We aren’t sure when the last day of harvest will occur, but we know we will be talking about his harvest for many years to come. Having a year like this thrown in the mix is a gift to winemakers, consumers, and of course the critics. Let the writing and discourse begin.”

See information on the Washington State Growing Degree Days here.

Monthly forecast for Yakima, Walla Walla, and Mattawa.

* * *

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 here, or leave a comment on the WWR Facebook page.

Winery

Grape

Vineyard

Date

Notes

Yakima Valley

Efeste

Merlot

Red Willow

9/25


Salida

Tempranillo

Sugarloaf

9/28


Salida

Tempranillo

Two Coyote

9/30


Woodward Canyon

Riesling

DuBrul

10/5


Salida

Malbec

Two Coyote

10/7


Efeste

Syrah

Red Willow

10/7


William Church

Syrah

Red Willow

10/12


Hestia

Merlot

Boushey

10/13


McCrea

Marsanne

Boushey

10/14


William Church

Grenache

Lonesome Spring Ranch

10/15


McCrea

Syrah

Boushey

10/17

Grand Cote (scheduled)

William Church

Syrah

Dineen

10/18

Scheduled

Elsom

Malbec

Two Blondes

10/18


William Church

Malbec

Gamache

10/19

Or 10/20 scheduled

Cavatappi

Nebbiolo

Boushey

10/19


Tildio

Grenache

Lonesome Springs Ranch

10/20


Tildio

Cabernet

Elephant Mt

10/20


Sleight of Hand

Cab Franc

Chelle den Millie

TBD

About 2 wks out as of 10/18

Red Mountain

Efeste

Merlot

Klipsun

9/25

Also 9/29

McCrea

Viognier

Ciel du Cheval

9/30


Efeste

Syrah

Klipsun

10/5


McCrea

Mourvedre

Ciel du Cheval

10/7


Efeste

Syrah

Ciel du Cheval

10/7

Also 10/12

Efeste

Syrah

Kiona

10/10


Gorman Winery

Syrah

Klipsun

10/13


Andrew Will

Cab Franc

Ciel du Cheval

10/14


Grand Reve

Cabernet

Ciel du Cheval

10/16

1975 block

Elsom

Cabernet

Artz

10/18


Kaella

Sangiovese

Ciel du Cheval

10/19


Walla Walla Valley

Woodward Canyon

Merlot

Estate

9/28


Woodward Canyon

Syrah

Estate

9/29


Woodward Canyon

Merlot

Estate

9/29

Also 9/30

Woodward Canyon

Grenache

Estate

10/2


Sleight of Hand

Merlot

Va Piano

10/5


Woodward Canyon

Barbera

Estate

10/5


--

Cabernet

Windrow

10/14

Old block

--

Malbec

Windrow

10/14


Woodward Canyon

Cabernet

Estate

10/15

Clone 4

Woodward Canyon

Cabernet

Estate

10/16

Clone 6

Waters

Syrah

Forgotten Hills

10/18


Woodward Canyon

Cab Franc

Estate

10/19

Last of grapes at estate vineyard

Tero Estates

Cabernet

Windrow

TBD

This week

Tero Estates

Cab Franc

Windrow

TBD

This week

Wahluke Slope

Woodward Canyon

Merlot

Weinbau

10/2


Efeste

Syrah

Stone Tree

10/10


Efeste

Syrah

Weinbau

10/10


Efeste

Mourvedre

Stone Tree

10/12


Efeste

Grenache

Stone Tree

10/12


Efeste

Cab Franc

Stone Tree

10/12


Ch. Faire le Ponte

Syrah

Clifton Hills

10/13


Tildio

Cabernet Franc

Weinbau

10/18


NA

Cabernet

Weinbau

10/19


NA

Cab Franc

Weinbau

10/19


Columbia Valley

William Church

Viognier

Conner Lee

10/12


Efeste

Chardonnay

Evergreen

10/13


Salida

Albarino

Den Hoed

10/14


SYZYGY

Cabernet

Sagemoor

10/18

1972 block

Sleight of Hand

Syrah

Lewis

TBD

7-10 days out as of 10/18

Tildio

Malbec

Stillwater Creek

10/19


Tildio

Cabernet

Stillwater Creek

10/20


Horse Heaven Hills

Woodward Canyon

Cabernet

Champoux

10/11

Block 1

Andrew Will

Cabernet

Champoux

10/14


Flying Trout

Malbec

Phinny Hill

10/16


Sleight of Hand

Cabernet

Phinny Hill

TBD

7-10 days out as of 10/18

Snipes Mountain

Rolling Bay

Cabernet

Snipes

10/15


Rolling Bay

Malbec

Snipes

10/15


Lake Chelan

Tildio

Viognier

Estate

10/18


Tildio

Syrah

Estate

10/21


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