This year's wine grape harvest is looking to be a steady paced once, much like 2013, a year that produced many high quality wines. A hot summer, with frequent nights of over 100 degrees has given way to moderate temperatures in in seventies, which will allow grapes to mature steadily. So far, most pickings have been white grapes, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, with some Syrah and Merlot, early ripening red varieties. Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon will be on their way later. Harvest should be nearly complete by the end of October.
The number of growing degree-days so far this year has been above normal, but if it were not for the hot days this summer, the numbers would have been much higher. As we discussed in the Review Blog posting of 16 August, when temperatures reach above 95 degrees, photosynthesis shuts down. So days above that level don't count as growing degree-days. Hence the 2018 grape harvest is at a normal start and is expected to proceed at a normal pace. the weather.com forecast is for continued temperatures in the 70's through early October in the Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys, so let's keep our fingers crossed. Stay tuned, more later!
No Review Blog next week. - On Thursday, we will be leaving for the East Coast, to Newark, Philadelphia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, returning from Pittsburgh on Monday, September 24. The next Blog posting will be on September 25, along with the October issue of the Review of Washington Wines.