Friday, October 30, 2009

The Great Frost Story
October 11, 2009

It hit the news like a scoop. Vineyards in Eastern Washington were decimated by an unusually cold night of early frost. Will they be able to salvage the frozen fruit. Well, yes and no. Read on.

Morrison Vineyard in the Rattlesnake Hills on October 28, 2009
No frost here!

Yes, the areas of Prosser Flats and Walla Walla were hit hard. They both lie in frost belts and since the major news sources for the Washington wine industry come from Walla and Prosser Flats, that means that all of eastern Washington was the same.

In the Rattlesnake Hills and Red Mountain, most grapes were already picked except for late harvest wines. Driving through Prosser Flats and seeing red grapes still hanging leads me to believe that there will be a lot of vegetative Bordeaux-style reds from the Yakima Valley in 2009.

Red Mountain was frosted in the lower areas, but the upper vineyards still had their leaves as of October 29. In the Rattlesnake Hills vineyards under 1000' were lightly frosted, but anything above that still has leaves and could ripen fruit - most of which is already picked in this warm AVA.