Bloom is beginning in eastern Washington’s vineyards. Sagemoor Vineyards reports bloom in their Chardonnay, pictured at left, on May 27th. This same block had bloom on May 5th in 2016 (which had an extremely warm start); May 14th in 2015 (a warm year); May 20th in 2013 (also a warm year); and June 7th in 2012 (a year that tracked to 20 year averages for heat accumulation). See a graph of current Growing Degree Days, a measure of heat accumulation, from Washington State University here.
Click on the picture, which is provided courtesy of Sagemoor Vineyards, to see a larger image.
Looking at the WSU link, aren't the GDDs somewhat counterintuitive for some of the regions? I always thought the Columbia Gorge and Ancient Lakes were supposed to be cool AVAs, yet the graph "Long-Term Average Cumulative GDD – All AVAs" shows that for both, they are above the Wahluke Slope?!?
Anon, that's a great question. The heat units that are tracked by WSU are very much dependent on where the sensors are placed. In the Columbia Gorge, for example, it's cooler and wetter to the west and considerably warmer and drier to the east. If the weather station is in the eastern section, it's going to look very much like the rest of the Columbia Valley. Similarly, some areas of the Wahluke Slope can actually be hotter than Red Mountain, though the weather stations displayed rarely reflect that. So I'd say take the measurements with a grain of salt. There's a lot of variability within each individual region.