Columbia Valley Harvest 2012: Midway Report
Harvest is here and how! We picked our first grapes on September 6th and are now at the halfway point, with an estimated three weeks to the finish line. The weather has been picture perfect over the last month, allowing the grapes to mature beautifully and the flavor profile and tannin development is spot on. Winemakers never like to predict a vintage too early, but so far there are plenty of smiles around the cellar.
The sunny skies and warm daytime temperatures we’ve enjoyed at the winery in Western Washington have ruled the day in Eastern Washington as well this fall. Both here and there, nighttime temperatures have been cool, and that’s one of the great secrets to the quality of Columbia Valley wine grapes. The warm days and cool nights this time of year allow the fruit to ripen completely, producing striking flavors and juicy acidity in the finished wine.
All our whites have now been picked and are fermenting in tank or barrel. This weekend, we will be crushing Syrah and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. If you’d like to see crush in action for yourself, Novelty Hill Januik is the place to come for a bird’s eye view. Visitors are welcome to watch grapes move through the crusher-destemmer from the observation deck on the top floor of the winery. The fermentation room (shown in the picture) is visible from the glass-enclosed hallway. Watch red wine pumpovers or barrels being filled here before they are moved to the aging room. When we have grapes to share, the cellar crew will bring up samples to the tasting bar, always a fun experience to taste just-picked fruit followed by a sip (or two) of a finished wine.