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2010 Harvest Report - November 3rd Edition

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

This will be the last weekly harvest report for the 2010 season. My sincere thanks to all who contributed over the past two months by sharing data, pictures, and thoughts on this year's growing season. We'll do it all again next year. See previous reports here.

11/3 Update: The end of the 2010 harvest is in site with numerous vineyards wrapping up harvest in the last week. In Walla Walla, Pepper Bridge finished harvest on October 28th; on Red Mountain, Ciel du Cheval finished on the 27th and Obelisco on the 30th. While some have breathed a sigh of relief, for others the work continues. Alexandria Nicole Cellars, SYZYGY, Gramercy Cellars, Pacific Rim, and Wahluke Wine Company all noted that harvest would continue into the first week of November. Most expect to be completed by November 10th.

Over the past two weeks, rain delayed harvest in numerous locations. Mattawa had a tenth of an inch of precipitation on October 23rd; Sunnyside had a third of an inch on the 23rd and 24th; Benton City had a quarter inch of rain on the 24th; Radar Hill had a fifth of an inch on the 24th; Walla Walla saw a half inch on the 24th. There were trace amounts of rain on numerous other days as well. While the rain has created some challenges, the cloud cover has also kept nighttime temperatures warmer, reducing concerns about frost.

On October 26th Patricia Gelles of Red Mountain’s Klipsun Vineyards said of the harvest, “We're nearly finished. In fact we should be finished at the end of this week except for late harvest/ice wine. This year has been difficult but in comparison to last year, great. Much larger crop…There's still a lot of fruit to be picked and we just hope that there isn't a severe frost till all the fruit is in.”

Director of Winemaking Kerry Norton of Columbia Winery said on the 29th, “Columbia is now about done with harvest. I expect to have all of the fruit in on Tuesday, November 2, weather permitting. The fruit still out there is either from late sites, is of late-ripening varieties, or both.” The last fruit Norton was planning to bring in was Petit Verdot from Northridge Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope. Norton says, “The flavor still needs a little more time to develop but the weather may not hold off for much longer…We hand pick that so we can let it hang until the birds or the frost threaten.”

Trey Busch of Sleight of Hand Cellars said, “Certainly the latest (harvest) I have seen since I started making wine in 2000. Early reports of high acid low alc year may have been jumping the gun, or at least, site specific. My first reds of the year, Merlot from both RMV Vineyards off of Red Mountain and Va Piano Estate Vineyard in Walla Walla both registered over 26 brix…More like a normal year than not.”

Winemaker Mike Wade of Fielding Hills, whose Riverbend Vineyard is on the Wahluke Slope, said on the 29th, “Now almost 2 weeks after Cab and Syrah harvest, Cab Franc is still hanging. It typically is last to pick. We seem to be stuck at 23 sugars and acids on the high side. We are clearly running out of hang time and will pick some time next week. This will be the latest harvest ever for us.” He summed up the thoughts of many saying, “Thankfully the weather has not turned sub freezing and forced our hand.”

For many, Petit Verdot and Riesling are among the varieties still hanging. Riesling in particular has been a challenge this year with cool temperatures and precipitation leading to rot issues. One vineyard manager said privately, “The amount of rot that we have seen this growing season has been unimaginable.” Jarrod Boyle of Alexandria Nicole Cellars said he has even seen botrytis in his vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills this year. "We never see that," Boyle said.

Winemaker Nicolas Quille, whose Pacific Rim focuses largely on Riesling, said on October 29th, “We are about sixty percent and going slow. Next week we probably will be done with the Yakima Valley fruit leaving us with only Wallula. Current picking numbers for Valley Riesling are about 23 Brix, 3.10 pH, 1.05 TA. Lots of Botrytis though mostly dry and nice. (It’s) affecting yields greatly – I expect yields to be down on whites by about 15% throughout the state.” Quille also reported that Pacific Rim would not be making any dry Riesling in 2010, except perhaps one from Solstice Vineyard. Quille says, “This is what Mother Nature is giving us this year, great acids, great botrytis, so we’ll go for sweeter styles.”

Dustin Tobin of Milbrandt Vineyards said on the 29th of Evergreen Vineyard, “We started our Riesling run this week with St. Michelle and Wahluke Wine Company. We have picked some low tonnage blocks for our high-end contracts… We estimate to be completely picked out around the 10th of November. We estimate to be done with harvest here in Mattawa (Wahluke Slope) around the 5th of November.”

Tobin expressed the thoughts of many on the 2010 vintage saying, “Anything that can happen in a vintage has happened this year whether it’s good or bad.” Vineyard manager Ryan Johnson who manages multiple sites on Red Mountain and is co-owner of Grand Reve Vintners says it was the, “most logistically complex October I've seen.”

Columbia Winery’s Norton says, “This was not the typical Washington vintage but we have had years like this before. 1999 leaps immediately to mind. That was a lovely white vintage and many of the reds we made then still are showing well today. 2010 to me resembles some of the vintages I experienced in Oregon in the mid-80’s through the mid-90’s. Sure, it rained off and on during the vintage, but you just dealt with it. You waited for the rain to stop, picked whites shortly thereafter and picked reds like mad right before the rain started again.”

One vineyard manager was less sanguine about the vintage saying, “Don't let the door hit you on the way out!”

Pictures this week: 1975 Cabernet Sauvignon vine at Ciel du Cheval (courtesy of Ryan Johnson), crushing at night in the rain at Laurelhurst Cellars, viognier from Waterville Wine Company, and Cabernet Franc from Seven Hills Winery.

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

Syrah

Boushey

10/19


21 Cellars

Cabernet

Two Blondes

10/28


21 Cellars

Cab Franc

Two Blondes

10/28


William Church

Cabernet

Dineen

10/29


Bergevin Lane

Viognier

FarAway

10/29


Columbia

Sangiovese, Barbera, Petit Verdot

Red Willow

10/29

Weather permitting, 25-26 Brix range

Barrage Cellars

Cab Franc/Syrah

Boushey

10/30


Lopez Vineyards

Sangiovese

Elephant Mt

10/30


Gramercy

Syrah

Minick

11/3

Last grapes in

Red Mountain

SYZYGY

Cabernet

Klipsun

10/21


Laurelhurst Cellars

Cabernet

Klipsun

10/26


Rasa

Cabernet

Kiona

10/27


Col Solare

Cabernet

Estate

10/27


Col Solare

Cab Franc

Estate

10/27


Efeste

Cabernet

Klipsun

10/27

Old block

Efeste

Cabernet

Kiona

1027

Old block

Guardian

Petit Verdot

Kiona

10/28


Walla Walla Valley

SYZYGY

Syrah

Les Collines

10/21


Kerloo Cellars

Syrah

Les Collines

10/21


Nodland

Petit Verdot

Seven Hills

10/20


Nodland

Carmenère

Seven Hills

10/20


Rasa

Cabernet

Les Collines

10/27


--

Cabernet

Windrow

10/27


Tero

Nebbiolo

Windrow

10/28


Sleight of Hand

Cabernet

Blue Mountain

10/28


Sleight of Hand

Cab Franc

Blue Mountain

10/28


Gramercy

Cabernet

Estate

10/28


Gramercy

Cab Franc

Estate

10/28


Sleight of Hand

Syrah

Les Collines

10/29

Block 50 and Block 23. Lewis Syrah and Chelle den Millie CF still hanging, along with Blue Mtn. Petit Verdot.

Wahluke Slope

Columbia

Barbera

Northridge

10/29


Columbia

Petit Verdot

Northridge

TBD

22 Brix and 11.5 g/L acid, Nov 2 or 3

Columbia Valley

SYZYGY

Syrah

Conner Lee

10/20


Cave B

Sangiovese

Estate

10/25


Cave B

Tempranillo

Estate

10/25


Cave B

Cabernet

Estate

10/26


SYZYGY

Cabernet

Wallula

10/30

Assuming no rain delay

Vinyl Wines

Cabernet

Dionysus

11/2


SYZYGY

Cabernet

Wallula

11/2


SYZYGY

Cabernet

Conner Lee

11/2

Last grapes for 2010 harvest for winery.

Horse Heaven Hills

Robert Karl

Cabernet

McKinley Springs

10/25


Robert Karl

Petit Verdot

McKinley Springs

10/25


Tero

Cabernet

Andrews

10/26


Sleight of Hand

Cabernet

Phinny Hill

10/28


Gramercy

Petit Verdot

Phinny Hill

10/28


Snipes Mountain

--

Malbec

Snipes

10-18


--

Aligote

Snipes

10-19


--

Viognier

Snipes

10-19


--

Mourvedre

Snipes

10-20


--

Port varieties

Snipes

10/26

Expected to be done with harvest by Thursday at latest.

Lake Chelan

Four Lakes

Cabernet

Estate

10/24


Four Lakes

Syrah

Estate

10/27


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1 Responses to 2010 Harvest Report - November 3rd Edition

  1. Chris Says:
  2. Nice work Sean. It's my second WA grape harvest and just like all the rest :) has been unique. First week of November temps in high 60's still trying to squeeze another Brix or half. I'll be picking up Reilsing next week to be picked on November 8. A full month after a hard freeze in 2009. Hunh??

    What a fun time of year, now we hunker down 'til spring barrel, right?

     

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