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'14 Tour Guide

Reviewed Wineries

This has been the week of the wind machine in Washington with a series of cold nights from last Tuesday through Sunday. Temperatures in some of the cooler areas of the Walla Walla and Yakima valleys dipped into the low 30s and even high 20s in some locations. While some did report frost issues, many were able to keep the frost at bay by using wind machines. 

“We started running wind machines on Tuesday night and have been every night since,” one wine grower in the Walla Walla Valley said yesterday. “The forecast for tonight is around 35 degrees so we should be out of it.” Meanwhile on Red Mountain temperatures dipped down to the high twenties on Friday but wind machines kept temperatures a few degrees higher allowing the growing season to continue.

Richard Funk at Saviah Cellars says that, as of the end of last week, his estate vineyard in the Rocks had dodged some bullets. “The Funk Estate Vineyard only hit 35 yesterday and 34 this morning,” Funk said Thursday. Like many, he is hoping to see the growing season continue a few weeks longer. “We will pick some of the Syrah this week where we have one cluster per shoot and waiting a little longer for the rest,” he says.

Overall, Funk is excited about what the 2012 vintage holds. “Very nice ripening weather this fall with very good color development, nearly ideal fruit chemistry and velvety, fully mature tannins in the Merlots we have picked,” he says. Funk reports that he has about a third of his fruit in and expects to continue into the first week of November, weather permitting.

Over on Red Mountain, Marcus Notaro at Col Solare says that exceptional weather that has marked this growing season has continued this past week. “I'm happy with what I'm seeing, and the weather has been ideal,” Notaro says. “A couple week ago I felt the Merlot and Cabernet needed a little more hang time for the flavors to catch up to sugar levels. Tough to say why, perhaps the haze in the air or the shorter days, but sugar accumulation did slow down over the past 10 days, so there is a better balance now.”

Notaro, who works with several different clones of Cabernet, says it has been interesting to watch the differences through the growing season. “I recall standing between clone 8 which was 70% through (veraison) and the clone 10 which was barely starting,” he says. “There's big differences in how they taste now as well.” Notaro also notes that Cabernet Franc was slower to finish veraison this year but subsequently has ripened more quickly than Cabernet Sauvignon at his sites.

Over on Goose Ridge, winemaker Justin Michaud of StoneCap Wines notes that while the temperatures were warm this year, they seldom got too hot. “In my view it seemed like a great summer because we had very few days of temperature over 95,” Michaud says. “We did have a bit of a cool wet spring along with back to back cooler vintages, so we saw a slightly smaller crop at set.” He hopes to be finished picking by Halloween but notes that early November seems more likely.

Meanwhile winemaker Bob Betz of Betz Family Winery sums up the thoughts of many on the vintage. “We are bullish on the 2012s,” Betz says. “Color, dimension, expression and concentration should mark the reds of 2012.” He looks back on the growing season as follows.

“Despite the cool spring, 2012 will be remembered for the sustained warm to hot temperatures and consistent high light intensity,” Betz says. “By mid June the Columbia Valley had established a pattern of persistent warm temperatures that has lasted into early-mid October. Warm vineyard sites saw several days that reached or surpassed the 100° F mark. As we entered October the daytime highs were still in the 70s and low 80s but nighttime lows dipped into the low 30s in some places.

“The result is a high sugar accumulation, especially after the past two vintages, and a full phenolic maturity. Grapes are deeply colored, thick-skinned and loaded with flavor and tannin. There is a surprising pH level despite the higher heat and sugar accumulation: pHs are low (strong), by any harvest standards, possibly because of the nighttime dips; interestingly the TA has dropped in line with the sugar accumulation. At this point these solid numbers would indicate a vintage where the reds are fleshy and rich enough to be enjoyed young, but certainly cellar-worthy because of the low pHs. We shall see how the numbers end up after malolactic has finished.”

Betz agrees with others who have noted that berry size has been smaller this year. “We aim for 1 gram/berry on Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.1-1.25 grams/berry for Merlot and 1.2-1.3 grams/berry on Syrah. In almost all cases the berry weights have been lower,” he says. Betz says that he has 60% of his fruit in and expects to have 80% in by the end of the week.

Picture courtesy of Jan Roskelley of Tero Estates. Follow the winery on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

* * *


Read previous harvest reports here.

See information on the Washington State Growing Degree Days here.

See monthly forecast for Yakima Valley (Sunnyside), Red Mountain (Benton City), Walla Walla, Paterson, 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
Columbia Valley
Woodward Canyon
Cabernet Sauv
Sagemoor
10/2
Block 3
Rasa
Cabernet Sauv
Dionysus
10/2

Woodward Canyon
Merlot
Mirage
10/2

Rasa
Petit Verdot
Dionysus
10/2

Charles Smith
Chardonnay
--
10/4
Frenchman Hills
Cedar River
Syrah
Burgess
10/4

Woodinville Wine Cellars
Viognier
Stillwater
10/4

Woodinville Wine Cellars
Syrah
Stillwater
10/4

Yakima Valley
Wind Rose
Dolcetto
Lonesome Springs Ranch
10/1

Rasa
Merlot
DuBrul
10/2

Kana
Grenache
Elerding
10/3

Adams Bench
Cabernet Sauv
Red Willow
10/4
1989 planting, 1st cab
Red Mountain
Sonoris
Cabernet Sauv
Scooteney Flats
10/1

--
Cabernet Sauv
Scooteney Flats
10/2
Clone 2
Sleight of Hand
Cabernet Sauv
Scooteney Flats
10/3
Last pick on Red Mt.
Kaella
Sangiovese
Ciel du Cheval
10/4

Kaella
Cabernet Sauv
Ciel du Cheval
10/4

Walla Walla Valley
Tero/Flying Trout
Malbec
Windrow
10/1
Mary’s Block
Tero/Flying Trout
Merlot
Windrow
10/1
Herb’s Block
Tero/Flying Trout
Cabernet Franc
Windrow
10/1

Waters
Syrah
Old Stones
10/1
Tablas Creek
Woodward Canyon
Cabernet Sauv
Estate
10/1
Clone 6, 26 Brix
àMaurice
Syrah
Estate
10/2
Tablas Creek
Tero/Flying Trout
Merlot
Windrow
10/2

Tero/Flying Trout
Sangiovese
Windrow
10/2

Rasa
Merlot
XL
10/2

Va Piano
Syrah
Estate
10/2
Block 4
Tero
Malbec
Windrow
10/2

Woodward Canyon
Cabernet Sauv
Estate
10/2
Terraces, Clone 4
Tero
Cabernet Franc
Windrow
10/4

Woodward Canyon
Syrah
Estate
10/5

Woodward Canyon
Grenache
Estate
10/5

Woodward Canyon
Barbera
Estate
10/5
Italian
Woodward Canyon
Cabernet Franc
Estate
10/6

Woodward Canyon
Barbera
Estate
10/6
American
SuLei
Cabernet Sauv
Beet Road Estate
10/7

Rattlesnake Hills
Cedar River
Cabernet Sauv
Portteus
10/2

Silver Bell
Syrah
Dineen
10/3

Robert Ramsay
Syrah
Dineen
10/4

Michael Florentino
Riesling
Dineen
10/6

Lake Chelan
--
--
--
--
--
Wahluke Slope
Desert Wind
Chardonnay
Desert Wind
9/27-10/2
219 tons
Desert Wind
Merlot
Desert Wind
9/24-9/29
363 tons
Michael Florentino
Primitivo
Coyote Canyon
10/2

Wind Rose
Dolcetto
24K
10/4

Woodward Canyon
Merlot
Weinbau
10/4

Bartholomew
Primitivo
Coyote Canyon
10/6
First red pick
Horse Heaven Hills
Daven Lore
Syrah
Alder Ridge
10/2

Daven Lore
Merlot
Alder Ridge
10/2

Coyote Canyon
Albarino
Coyote Canyon
10/4

Reininger
Syrah
Phinny Hill
10/4

Malbec
El Corazon
Phinny Hill
10/4

Woodward
Cabernet Sauv
Champoux
10/5
Blocks 2&4
Angel Vine
Primitivo
Coyote Canyon
10/6

Snipes Mountain
Robert Ramsay
Grenache
Upland
10/4
For rose’
Convergence Zone
Chenin Blanc
Upland
10/9

Naches Heights
--
--
--
--


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