Wine harvest begins
Blog: Winemaker's Journal
September 11, 2012
Washington's wine grape harvest has begun! And for the first time since 2009, it's on time.
Milbrandt Vineyards began harvest of pinot gris and sauvignon blanc white wine grapes from its Mattawa vineyards late last week. Harvest of those same grape varieties was set to begin at Milbrandt's Ancient Lakes area vineyards near Quincy and George this week.
With about 2,300 acres of wine grapes scattered at vineyards between Quincy and Mattawa, Milbrandt is one of the state's largest grape growers, and also wine producers at its Wahluke Wine Co. custom crush facilty in Mattawa.
Ryan Flanagan, vineyard manager, said chardonnay grapes would be picked next, followed by earlier red varieties like pinot noir, syrah and merlot, and riesling, a late white variety.
He said the weather has been ideal for grapes this year, very different from the last two years. Harvest didn't start last year until early October, nearly three weeks later than normal due to a cool, wet spring. Volume was also down last year because of a damaging freeze the previous fall.
Statewide, this year's wine grape crop could top 200,000 tons, destroying the previous record of 160,000 tons.
"It's shaping up to be a classic Washington vintage," Flanagan said.
Cabernet sauvignon harvest is still a few weeks off, but white varieties like sauvignon blanc and pinot gris are already headed to wineries.