The 2016 Washington wine grape harvest is now well under way. Most white grapes have been harvested and Merlot and Syrah are nearly complete. Cabernet Sauvignon is due to come in during October. This is the fifth of a succession of early harvests since the protracted ones of 2010 and 2011. The cumulative degree days so far this year are below 2015's but it all looks good for another fine year. More later.

March Cellars/Vital Wine Opens a New Tasting Room

Ashley Trout's new ventures, Vital Wines and March Cellars has opened a new tasting room on Lyday Lane, just off Braden Road in the South Walla Walla Valley. Hours are Friday-Saturday from 11 to 5 and Monday-Thursday from 11 to 4. The 2015 March Cellars Chardonnay was reviewed in the October issue of the Review of Washington wines and the Vital Wines second release, the 2015 "The Gifted" BDX blend will be in the December issue.

Harvest Celebrations in Walla Walla

On Saturday, October 1, Tero Estates and àMaurice Cellars will be having events for club members and friends. Tero's annual Wine and Swine roast will be at the winery near Milton-Freewater, with its signature pig roast. The Schafer family will be hosting its annual Fall Harvest with pumpkin carving for the kids and Tom Schafer's guided tour of the Estate Vineyard. New releases will be featured.

In Memoriam: Mike Wallace and Scott Pontin

Recently, two Yakima Valley winemaking pioneers passed away. Mike Wallace who founded Hinzerling Cellars with his father died of complications of pneumonia and Scott Pontin of Pontin del Roza was stricken by a heart attack. It is a great loss to the Prosser wine community. These two guys did much to put the Yakima Valley on the wine map. I remember them as good friends from the 1970's before higher profile winemakers came to the fore. Washington winemaking owes much for their legacy.