Harvest has begun in Columbia Valley. Walla Walla Vineyard Management reported plans to harvest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Myles Anderson Vineyard in Walla Walla Valley on August 16th. The grapes will be used for sparkling wine.
The company also plans to pick Pinot Meunier from the same site and Sauvignon Blanc from nearby Stan Clarke Vineyard on August 17th. Both Myles Anderson and Stan Clarke vineyards are used by College Cellars.
Meanwhile grower Damon Lalonde reported plans to pick Chardonnay at French Creek Vineyard on August 17th. The vineyard is located in Yakima Valley.
The 2023 growing season has been an unusual one to date. It started with a delayed bud break, beginning on April 20th. Remarkably, in just over a month’s time, the state had made up ground, with bloom beginning on May 22nd. Veraison meanwhile started on July 12, slightly earlier than it has in the past 10 years.
Since that time, the growing season has been warm, with Growing Degree Days, a measure of heat accumulation, tracking closely to the historically hot 2021 vintage. However, 2023 and 2021 accumulated their heat very differently. Additionally, 2021 also had record low tonnages.
Perhaps most importantly, the story of Washington’s vintages is frequently told by the weather during harvest. The first pages of that story are just being written.
Below is a look at when the first grapes were picked in Columbia Valley from 2012 to 2023. Note that this is via grower reporting. It’s possible others picked earlier.
Image courtesy of Walla Walla Vineyard Management.
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