Friday, October 1, 2010

Let the Crush Begin

Wow, the weather gods have smiled upon us with daytime temperatures in the 80's and warm nights. The warm nights are essential in reducing acid. I noticed Hyatt was picking Merlot here in the Rattlesnake Hills on the 29th. Our Merlot in the Rattlesnake Hills tested over 24 Brix today and we are picking on Monday.

A lot of people are picking Merlot. I saw this article. Gary Figgins harvested their Merlot at 24.5 Brix and talked about the old days of low alcohol. Man, am I getting old. I have been in this business way too long. I remember the old days of 'low alcohol' too. 21 brix yields 12.2% alcohol and was considered enough. 22 brix yields 12.8% alcohol and was considered perfect, and 23 brix would result in 13.3% alcohol - a little high; the resulting wines would be judged too alcoholic. Using the .58 conversion factor, 24.5 brix yields 14.2% alcohol. Oh well, I guess 'low alcohol' is relative in Walla Walla where 16% is the norm.

Here is the scorecard as of September 30, 2010.




Rattlesnake Hills



Yakima Valley



Horse Heaven



Red Mountain



Walla Walla




It appears that all AVA's in the state have passed the magical 2400 GDD, except the Yakima Valley at 1199 feet elevation on Sagebrush Ridge. (Sorry to report, the higher you go on Sagebrush Ridge, it doesn't get warmer, even if you have a PhD from Yoo Cee Davis and think it does.)

Barring an early frosts like last year, it is stacking up to be a really good year for red wine regions and not bad for the white wine regions like the Yakima Valley.

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