Veraison begins in Columbia Valley

Growers in Washington are seeing the start of veraison, the changing of color of the grapes. This means the beginning of harvest will soon be at hand.

Sager Small at Woodward Canyon Winery in Walla Walla Valley saw veraison in the winery’s estate Cabernet Sauvignon on July 27th/28th. Small says the 2022 growing season has been two to three weeks behind recent years, but last month's high heat brought it closer to two weeks.

Grower Phil Cline saw veraison in Cabernet Sauvignon at Equus Vineyard, pictured here, on August 3rd. Equus is located in Columbia Valley east of Yakima. Cline concurs that the season is currently running two weeks behind recent years.

Shaw Vineyards, which farms sites throughout Columbia Valley, has reported seeing veraison at two Red Mountain locations - Shaw 32 Cabernet Sauvignon on August 3rd and Quintessence Syrah on August 2nd.  

Finally, at Weinbau Vineyard on the Wahluke Slope, grower Miguel Rodriguez saw veraison in Block 9 Merlot on August 3rd.

A look at Washington State University’s graph of Growing Degree Days, a measure of heat accumulation during the growing season, shows that spring was quite cool, tracking with the 2011 vintage. Warmer temperatures in July moved heat accumulation close to the long-term average.

With August, September, and October still ahead, much of the story of this year's growing season remains to be written.

Sean P. Sullivan

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