Almost every grape grower and winemaker I have talked with this Fall has commented on the strangeness of this year’s growing season and harvest. Not only has harvest been late by weeks but all the “usualness” that I could count on was clobbered. The usually early vineyards came in later, grape varieties that usually come in a nice manageable sequence got collapsed into days instead of weeks, acid and sugar ratios had to be scrutinized carefully, and the list could go boringly long. This was our nineteenth commercial vintage and I have never experienced anything quite like it.
But what does all this oddness mean for wine quality this year? Early in September some folks were expressing grave concerns. What I am actually finding is that most wines have deep and rich balanced flavors. All in all, I’m more than pleased with the wines we have made.
I made at least 15 trips (I’ve lost count) to Eastern Washington to get grapes. Some vineyards were too small or too remote for a commercial truck to get into and sometimes the grapes were picked on a weekend and it was up to me to get them. I usually dropped bins off at the next vineyard to be picked on my way over. We got grapes from eight different vineyards this year so you can imagine the logistics. Me and “Big Red”, the one ton diesel truck, became fast, no, make that slow, friends.
At one time we had eight separate fermentations going on, each with its own daily management requirements. We had 20 separate lots. Each had to be stemmed and crushed, fermented and pressed, then barreled. Volunteer work parties were many and we are especially grateful for the enthusiasm everyone brought to the work. We could not have gotten through harvest without their help.
We have updated our website to include a harvest photo gallery so you can get a sense of what we have been doing around here.
At this time of the year we are open by appointment and we look forward to your calls to make a time to visit.
Right now, I’m going to go and take a nap.