By John ~ October 9th, 2009.
The harvest began early in Washington State this year, and first indications are that it’s going to be another stellar vintage. The state of Washington has had an uninterrupted string of outstanding vintages for this entire decade, highlighted so far by 2005 and the 2007’s just now being released.
According to a recent news release by the Washington Wine Commission, great weather resulted in an early start to harvest, which was verified to us by Mike Wade of Fielding Hills when his Merlot from the Wahluke Slope was ready a couple of weeks sooner than normally would be expected. Ryan Pennington of the Wine Commission quoted leading Yakima Valley grower Dick Boushey as saying:
“We’re probably a week ahead of last year. It looks outstanding. The weather has given us both plenty of sugar and good acidity. Also, the color is great….”
A report by the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers indicates a record crop of 155,000 tons of wine grapes this fall, up from 145,000 tons last year. While their estimates are often on the high side, a record crop is still likely.
While harvest is only the beginning, without a good harvest under the right growing conditions, it’s tough to make great wine. Fortunately, the early returns on 2009 are very promising. The growers have done their job; now it’s the winemakers’ turn. It’ll be at least two years to tell if the promise of this fall turns out to be great wine.
In the meantime, we’ll toast the 2009 harvest by opening some of the great new 2007’s from Washington State now being released.
Filed under: American Wine, Vineyards, Washington State Wine