Thursday, September 1, 2011

Are we there yet, Daddy?

There is growing concern over this year’s grape harvest and desired ripeness. Here is the Grumpy Winemaker’s best guess.

As of August 31, 2011 we have accumulated 1882 growing degree days (GDD) in the Rattlesnake Hills. Véraison seems to be in full gear finally and we are getting some sugar. In fact, my Black Manukas are California ripe. (California ripe is defined by the stuff you buy in the grocery store and is never really very sweet because it was picked early for shipping.) In a week they should be edible.

Since the failure of Global Warming, which is now climate change, here is my prediction: In the past five years between September 1 and October 15, we have averaged 465 GDD. The least was in 2007 with 417 GDD and the most was 2010 with 498. Taking the average and adding it to the current GDD I get 2347 GDD for 2011. That is my prediction for the Rattlesnake Hills and I am sticking to it.

2300 GDD is the minimum in my experience for ripening Bordeaux varieties beyond vegetative flavors. In other words, we will squeak by and harvest everything by November 1.

I did not have time to do the calculations for other areas. Red Mountain, Wahluke, and Horse Heaven should be fine. Prosser Flats, on the other hand might be a bit short.

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