As the harvest comes to a close, us winemakers try to dot our i’s and cross our t’s. We finish the alcohol fermentation, then malolactic fermentation, then put our barrels away for winter. We take a bath. We get the flu. We eat turkey.
And then we rally out of our sweatpants and enjoy what so many of us enjoy- the holiday festive season, filled with parties and dinners, auctions and events and by January, we are so very glad that daylight is a minority.
But first, before the carhartts come off, a quick look at the past:
Many in the valley would be reluctant to say so out loud, but my opinion was that this was the hardest vintage this valley has had- as a winemaking region.
Looking at weather trackers for Walla Walla alone, one finds the following information for the last 5 years from May 1st to November 1st:
Year: Rain (in): Growing Days: Average temp:
2010 7.46 2837 65
2009 6.24 3251 67
2008 3.77 2883 65
2007 4.78 3124 67
2006 4.89 3103 66
So we had the cold that 2008 had, but our rainfall was doubled. This means, the grapes are being watered down, moisture that leads to mold isn’t evaporating, and we’re not getting the heat or sun that we want to ramp up photosynthesis and phenolic maturation.
Your grandmother could have made a great Walla Walla wine in 2007(warm spring, cool fall, low moisture). This year, on the other hand, will be the year of the winemaker.