From the heart of Washington wine country…
In Walla Walla for Fall Release Weekend. Day one plans include stops at Woodward Canyon, Cougar Crest, Cayuse, and Corliss Estates among others.
I arrived in town last night to a new Walla Walla experience; it was raining dirt. Yes, you read that correctly. I believe that this is caused by the annual burning of the crop land here as the smell of smoke was very much in the air. Strikingly unappealing I have to say (makes me wish I hadn’t gotten my car washed before leaving). “Here’s one reason not to move here” a friend noted. I will talk with folks around town and write more on this later (readers who live in town feel free to comment/correct). This morning is warm and partly cloudy with the Blue Mountains looking as beautiful as ever.
In addition to blog posts I will be tweeting along the way @wawinereport. Please note I also (finally) launched a Facebook page for the blog which you can follow here. See yesterday’s post for more information on Fall Release Weekend.
So that's what that was! I live here – but have never encountered the rain dirt! I came out of the grocery store last night and discovered my car was really dirty! Yiikes. Well, don't let that keep you away – and what the hell, a little "dirt" in your wine tastes good, right?
Sean, like Denise I have never encountered dirt rain. And the burning of the crops is an annual thing in Walla Walla since I was a little girl and have never seen it rain dirt like it did yesterday. Think of it as our own "terroir." Have a great time in Walla Walla. I am looking forward to what you will find.
Denise and Catie, many thanks for the comments. Glad to hear it was just some weird thing. Denise, I always wondered what they were talking about when they said "from dirt to glass"! Enjoy the weekend.
The rain/silt mixture was indeed unprecedented in my 20 years in Walla Walla. In the fall after the wheat has been harvested and the fields plowed, there's a lot of loose loess lying around. When the SW winds pick up ahead of an advancing cold front, like the did they a few days ago, the loess goes airborne. If the cold front and associated precipitation catches up with the airborne loess the result is muddy rain. Loess is notoriously prone to taking flight – that's how thick soils of the Palouse were deposited – from the wind. The "dirt rain" as you describe it has nothing to do with field burns – and washing the exterior of a car is always a waste of time and resources in my opinion….