Bloom has begun in Columbia Valley. Brittany Komm, vineyard operations manager at Sagemoor Vineyards, saw bloom in Weinbau Vineyard Chardonnay on May 22nd. Komm also saw bloom in Sagemoor Chardonnay and Bacchus Cabernet Franc on May 23rd. Sagemoor has vineyards in the White Bluffs, Wahluke Slope, and Walla Walla Valley.
After some (quite) warm weather earlier this month, this appears to represent somewhat of a course correction for the growing season. Bud break began in Columbia Valley on April 20th, two to three weeks behind recent averages. However, bloom beginning May 22nd is only two days behind the 2016 to 2023 average (though there has been considerable variance across years).
The more average-seeming bloom is also consistent with Washington State University’s Growing Degree Days data, which shows recent hot temperatures pushing heat accumulation above the hot 2023. (Growing Degree Days are a measure of heat accumulation from April 1 to October 31.)
Of course, the growing season is just beginning in earnest, and Washington’s vintages are more often defined by how they finish than how they start. But at least for the moment, what once looked like the start of a cool vintage is currently moving toward a considerably warmer one.
Image of bloom in Bacchus Cabernet Franc courtesy of Brittany Komm, Sagemoor Vineyards.
This article has been updated to fix a typo.
Once again, good article. This is the type of article we discussed that is information industry people appreciate just to use it to gauge their own experience. Mike Sauer and I had this exact conversation this morning about Red Willow and the information coincides very closely to what you say here with Sagemoor. Nothing earth shattering, but reinforcing nonetheless.