#WVHARVEST2021 is under way!
Check out our annual harvest reports from every corner of the valley!
Watch this space for forthcoming updates and follow the latest harvest tag on instagram. Browse reports from previous vintages below.
2021 HARVEST REPORTS
BERGSTRÖM WINES, 11/2/21
“The miracle of 2021, now widely being hailed by many friends and colleagues across the valley as potentially the vintage of their careers, is that the heat dissipated around the first of September, and cool nights returned to the valley. For an entire month, we experienced a classic Willamette Valley, cool-climate fall season. This allowed the grapes to ripen at a slow pace, keeping their natural acids high while maintaining perfectly balanced sugars. In short, this devilish beast of a hot year has yielded pretty wines of grace and silky supple textures with bright and freshly fruited, floral bouquets. I cannot wait to share them with the world once they have matured.” – Josh Bergström
SOKOL BLOSSER 2021 HARVEST UPDATE, 9/23/21
“Harvest began August 30th and marked not only the start of our 2021 vintage, but the first vintage of our very own Pellenc machine harvester! This modern marvel helped us to pick Pinot Noir from our Concert South Block to make our Bluebird Cuvée Brut Sparkling. By day two, the team had a feel for the machine harvester and successfully brought in 10 tons of Müller-Thurgau from our Betty Block (great work to Antonio, Jorge, Omar, and our very own Bill Blosser!).
On September 4th we received beautiful Chardonnay grapes from Knudsen Vineyard which were pressed to make our 2021 Knudsen Vineyard Blanc de Blanc! Our Associate Winemaker, Robin, said the juice out of the press was tasting amazing, and we all can’t wait to try the bubbles in a few years.
The first of our grapes for Rosé of Pinot Noir were picked on September 6th and 7th, and even though we saw some abnormally warm days, we have been able to keep on picking thanks to our fantastic (though sometimes finicky) Pellenc! Our winemaker, Alex, has been thrilled with his new toy and his dog, Gus has even been captivated.
This year we brought in our first harvest of Chardonnay form our new La Joya Block. It was not much, a little under one ton from 3.8 acres. What makes our La Joya Block so special is that it is named after the hometown of our Vineyard Manager, Manuel “Luis” Hernandez. Luis has been with us since 1987 and what a ride it has been! Although we haven’t had the pleasure of seeing the namesake town with our own eyes, Luis shares its beauty with us through his stories. We will do our best to make this Chardonnay live up to the special name that will one day grace its label.
Between pressing fruit and managing ferments, our intern team is also working as skilled gopher snake rescuers. We love our scaly friends as they munch on the gophers that would otherwise be munching on our vines. The snakes just love to sun themselves on the pavement around the winery, so our brave interns scoop them up and return them to the vineyard where they are safe from tractors and forklifts!” – Sokol Blosser team
THE EYRIE VINEYARDS 2021 HARVEST UPDATE, 9/20/21
“After the rain. We are at about 70% of the pick in, and just had a weekend of glorious rain. There’s a beautiful stretch of ripening weather ahead for the last picks of Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier of 2021. This vintage is shaping up to be of historic quality, even if the quantity is down (about 30% for us).” – Winemaker Jason Lett
THE EYRIE VINEYARDS
ADELSHEIM 2021 HARVEST UPDATE, 9/20/21
"Harvest 2021 is in full swing and spirits are through the roof! After a challenging 2020 harvest, our vineyard and winemaking teams are filled with joy to be in the vineyards and cellar again doing what they love. This year's harvest seems to be flying by, so we wanted to give you an update before the most exciting time of the year is over.
So much work has gone into getting us to these moments, and yet it takes an enormous amount of work to get us across the finish line. Every season is unique but similar in so many ways, and it is the people that bring the comforting and energetically familiar feeling back each harvest season.
Kelli and her team began pruning the vines in January, preparing the vineyards for the growing season. Throughout the growing season, many jobs are done to maintain healthy vineyards and grow premium wine grapes. Shoot thinning, wire raising, vineyard floor management, shoot positioning, hedging, suckering, leaf removal, and fruit thinning are all essential activities in our vineyards and prepare us for a successful harvest season. And what a successful season it's been!
Our 2021 harvest season kicked off on August 28th when we began picking grapes for our sparkling wines. Since then, it's been all hands on deck. In the last three weeks, our team has completely picked through six of our vineyards!
Chardonnay and Pinot noir from throughout the Chehalem Mountains has been brought into the winery for processing. The final days of picking fruit are approaching, and the proverbial torch is being passed to our winemaking team!
As fruit is being brought in, Gina and her team begin processing by unloading bins of grapes onto a sorting table to separate the fruit from any unwanted materials such as leaves, stems and any imperfect clusters. This is only the beginning of the winemaking process, but so far, Gina is very pleased with the fruit she sees and eager to get these wines into your glass.
'The crop is looking great this year and it’s got a lot to do with all of these hard working people out in our vineyards. They are amazing! Also, can I just say how great it feels to be making wine again? I’m gonna say it: it’s great. We all missed it.'" – Vineyard Manager Kelli Gregory, Winemaker Gina Hennen, and team
VAN DUZER VINEYARDS 2021 HARVEST UPDATE, 9/17/21
"We’re in the thick of it right now getting as much off as we can before the rains hit this weekend. Not a big issue though with the rains, it’s just that some of this stuff is definitely ripe so we wanna get it off before it gets wet. If it does get wet it’ll just plump it up a little more, so we wait a day or two and then finish it off. Today we are picking Pinot Gris… very, very beautiful fruit coming off today with Pinot Gris, we already picked a block of Chardonnay, we’ve got Pinot noir. So we’re still in the middle of it, looking forward to getting 'er done! " – Vineyard Manager Bruce Sonnon (watch the video!)
VAN DUZER VINEYARDS
WINDERLEA 2021 HARVEST UPDATE, 9/16/21
"Greetings from the midst of Harvest 2021. I am happy to report that the Winderlea Vineyard and Worden Hill Vineyard Pinot noir and Chardonnay are all in the house as of yesterday. In fact, I’ve attached a video of my fermenting Imprint Pinot noir which I make in our little “winerette” underneath the tasting room. Today, we are starting harvest on the Meredith Mitchell Vineyard in McMinnville. More later. Off to pick that Pinot blanc..." – Winegrower Bill Sweat
ADELSHEIM 2021 HARVEST UPDATE, 9/14/21
"Just a quick harvest update: The picking crews we have this year have been incredible and continue to show up every morning with unusual levels of energy.
Sometimes I just stand back for a second and admire how well of an orchestration the wine grape harvest is. There is a lot to watch in just a few short seconds. Our crew knows where they need to be, they anticipate what is coming next & prepare for it ahead of time. The whole thing just flows with such grace. Tractor drivers are getting empty bins staged where they need to be, foreman are labeling bins & making sure the harvest crew are where they are supposed to be. The pickers run full speed out of the vineyard rows, dumping their buckets and anxiously waiting for their harvest card to get punched before they sprint back into the vineyard to start filling their buckets again. Our crew stands guard over the bins, acting as the first line of quality control before the fruit gets to the winery, removing leaves and any fruit that does not look ideal. Meanwhile, the tractor drivers are picking up full bins and transporting them back to the truck for an anticipated delivery to the winery. This teamwork starts before sunrise and doesn't stop until the fruit is delivered to it's new home, and then we do it all over again and again and again.
It is fascinating to see how many grapes just keep pouring in, bucket by bucket & bin by bin, as we check blocks off the harvest schedule as complete. So much work has gone into getting us to these moments, and yet it takes an enormous amount of work to get us across the finish line. Every season is unique but similar in so many ways, and it is the people that bring the comforting and energetically familiar feeling back each harvest season. There is definitely a feeling of harvest-and it's a damn good feeling!
The amazing people who show up and farm our vineyards have been doing incredible work for us. We are zipping through harvest, with some of the biggest days ahead of us & spirits are definitely high as we continue to deliver some really beautiful grapes to the winery. We know Gina and her team will take it from there and continue the great work in order to make some incredible wines from this vintage." – Vineyard Manager Kelli Gregory
ANACRÉON WINERY 2021 HARVEST UPDATE, 9/8/21
"The Pinot Noir harvest is in full swing! Our Belle Colline Vineyard, a low elevation and warm site, is giving us beautiful 2021 fruit. We are so grateful for gorgeous picking conditions and our hard-working crew!!"
KING ESTATE 2021 HARVEST UPDATE, 9/8/21
"And so it begins...
Today we welcomed & toasted our first fruit of the year with a celebratory — safely distanced & masked — harvest team! A few tons of pinot noir from @ninebarkvineyard in Gaston, OR.
Our 2021 harvest team is ready to take on the season — the pinnacle of the year in Oregon wine country.
"This is an exciting time; we've really been looking forward to it. We have a lot of veteran crew members, so we're set up really well in terms of people. It's shaping up to be an excellent year & we're just getting started." – Winemaker Brent Stone
RAPTOR RIDGE WINERY 2021 HARVEST UPDATE, 9/7/21
"I was a little surprised by how good the Grüner Veltliner was tasting in the vineyard, as it typically is some of our last fruit to harvest, usually early to mid October. With rains right at bloom, our crop load was significantly affected. The left cluster represents what a normal cluster looks like, with the right cluster exemplifying shot berries and reduced crop set from the rain. We are loving the flavors and the white pepper that we are seeing this year. Today we picked the top half of the block." – Winemaker Shannon Gustafson
RAPTOR RIDGE WINERY
THE EYRIE VINEYARDS 2020 HARVEST UPDATE, 11/11/20
“In a darkly humorous exchange of letters between Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger, the two physicists toyed with metaphors for quantum superposition – the idea that a subatomic particle can exist in two states at once, until it is observed. Once observed, a quantum system stops superposition and becomes either one or the other.
Schrödinger was not a fan of this idea, and sarcastically proposed that it would be like having a cat in a box, whose state of health was linked to a random subatomic event. Since it could not be known if the cat was alive or dead, it therefore existed in both states simultaneously until the box was opened. This paradox has become known as 'Schrödinger’s Cat.'
2020 has become Schrödinger’s Vintage – it could be the best vintage the Willamette Valley has ever had, or the worst. We won’t know until we open the barrels in the spring.
2020 started with very mild winter nights – very few dipped below freezing. After a wet January, February through April were unusually dry. With our lives disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, this glorious, sunny spring was a real blessing. Getting out in nature was a solace to many of us this year.
Our dry spring was followed by a dry summer, with one exception: June, especially in mid-month when most of the vines were in flower. The mid-bloom rains had the consequence of hampering pollination in the vines, meaning each cluster had many fewer berries. Our 2020 yields were 39% of 2019.
Also working in favor of quality were unusually cool average summer temperatures. A light crop load can ripen unevenly if temperatures are too hot, but this year the vines sailed through.
As we prepped for a light, but high-quality harvest, disaster struck: a series of wildres located mostly in the Cascade Mountains erupted into a conflagration that hasn’t been seen Oregon in generations. More that 1 million acres burned, and entire towns were erased from the map. Along with the appalling loss of property and life, some of Oregon’s most treasured old-growth forest went up in smoke.
The smoke from these res settled over the valley for days, leading to a string of social media pictures that made Oregon look like Mars. For the wine community, the timing couldn’t have been worse: grape sugars can sometimes bind smoke molecules into compounds called glucosides that are released into the wine, and at almost full maturity, this was a danger. However whether or not this happens depends on factors that really aren’t that well understood.The age of the smoke, the maturity of the grapes, the age and variety of the vines, elevation, exposure, and many other factors contribute to whether a given plot will pick up any impact.Therefore the the effect is highly local – we have learned that plots separated by only a few feet can show a spectrum from absolutely no effect to a discernible flavor.
What is especially maddening about this process is that the juice and the fermenting wines show absolutely no hint of what they will become. The glucosides bind the smoke so tightly that it takes many weeks for any smoke impact to become apparent… the glucosides need time to degrade and show the true colors of the vintage. Patience, trust, and a tolerance for risk were required to put in the expense of harvest and winemaking in 2020. Some chose not to pick at all, but others forged ahead. At Eyrie, with the amazing quality of the fruit on the vine, the 2020 vintage seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up.
We picked the harvest, and yesterday we filled the last barrel of 2020. Now we wait. If everything turns out as I expect it to, we have gambled correctly. The density and concentration of this vintage are like nothing I’ve ever seen, putting even vintages like 1988 and 1998 to shame. Yet due to the cool summer, the natural acidity is as close to perfect as I could ever hope for, and alcohols are modest – that perfect 12-13% of the best vintages of the past, but with unprecedented structure and density. And so, we wait. In the meantime, like Einstein and Shrödinger, we contemplate the mysteries of the world with wry smiles, and hope for the best.” – Jason Lett, winemaker
THE EYRIE VINEYARDS
IRIS VINEYARDS 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/18/19
“Though we have all of our Pinot noir and other Willamette Valley grown fruit picked and in the winery now (we started with Pinot gris on September 20th and finished with Pinot noir on October 10th) we still have some Rogue and Applegate Valley grapes to pick as of October 17th. As for our estate vineyard we began picking for sparkling base on September 23rd followed by Pinot gris on the 26th and finishing up with Pinot noir on October 8th. The 2019 vintage is reminiscent of 2013 during which we experienced nearly perfect weather through veraison followed by nail biting weather during the critical ripening month of September. In a way, although there was more total rain in September 2013, the picking decisions were easier to make because the rain events were more discrete and were followed by sunny, dry weather. Overall the quality of the Pinot noir has been good with some excellent fruit and some with botrytis, bird damage and/or sour rot. It is years like this one when we appreciate our sorting table and a well-trained crew the most!” – Aaron Lieberman, winemaker
DION VINEYARD 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/17/19
“2019: The harvest Oregon needs right now, but not the one it deserves.
Heh. Oh yeah, I went there. For those of you not ‘quite’ familiar with pop culture, or Batman, or movie quotes, the reference is (vastly) paraphrased from the ultimate line in The Dark Knight.
Why this line? Well, one, I’m a sucker for movie quotes. Aaaand I’m a Batman fan––look, if we ever build another winery building I really, really want a secret passage out of the barrel caves. Because, BatCave! (And earthquakes. I’d like to get out after the Big One knocks all the barrels down.)
But besides all that Bat-Fun (oy) there is some truth in this quote. This feels like exactly the harvest Oregon needs, but I’m not sure we deserve it. We already have quite a few narratives being spun as the Pinot of this vintage just barely makes it into barrel. In case you didn’t notice, it rained during harvest. Oh. My. Goodness.
Look, it’s Oregon. It rains around here. Even during––maybe especially during––harvest. So I decided to put together some data on the whole thing. Since 1999:
Average rain during our Pinot harvest time frame: 1.56″
Average of the last 5 previous harvests (2014-2018): 0.72″
Rain during the 2007 harvest: 2.29″
Rain during the 2013 harvest: 5.43″ (uuuuuugh)
And rain during the 2019 harvest…. 2.26″
Yup. About the same as 2007. Nothing like the 2013…”fun.” But, quite a bit more than the last five years.
Or as one might say:
Welcome to the Oregon party, pal! (another movie quote)
There’s more data out there…but you came here to drink (think about drinking) wine. So let’s keep the discussion about our recent summer simple: how many days over 90 degrees did we have?
Short answer: Not many.
Other vintages that were similar: 2007. 2011. 2010. 1999, 2000, 2001…
I think people liked some of those wines. I know for certain, we’ve all been hoping for a ‘cooler’ year that lets us make wines we haven’t seen in awhile––pretty, elegant wines with lower alcohols and higher acidities, built to age.
Is that 2019? No frickin’ idea––we literally just put the last bit of it in barrel a few days ago. Each vintage is its own creation and 2019 will be no exception. What I do know: the colors and flavors were superb for us. The ferments were very pretty and clean. The fruit came in looking great.
I hope we deserve what 2019 gave us: a different vintage than what we’ve seen recently, a familiar return to Classic Oregon. I have great hope for these wines and I hope that everyone else out there in our winemaking world enjoys the same feelings.” – Kevin Johnson, winemaker
LENNÉ ESTATE 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/17/19
“After a number of warm vintages, 2019 was slightly more reminiscent of a classic Oregon Vintage. After an early spring start, the growing season remained mild with a little bit of uncharacteristic rain during the summer. Fall was temperate with nearly an inch of rain in the middle of September and several days of showers putting everyone on edge. There was also more bird pressure than the previous four harvests though damage at Lenné was minimal. Overall fruit tonnage was down about 15% from the prior year. Fortunately the later part of September was cool and clear letting sugars and more importantly, flavors accumulate. At Lenné, harvest ensued on the October first and was finished by the third. The resulting fruit came in with near perfect numbers and the thoughts in early September that we may have a lean vintage gave way to relief. We expect to make delicious wines from this vintage. ” – Steve Lutz, winemaker
LENNÉ ESTATE WINERY
LANGE ESTATE 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/16/19
“The vintage came on early with some warm days in April and May. Budbreak was on par with recent years and on the whole the summer was warm without excessive heat spikes. The most remarkable aspect to the growing season was above-average humidity. The tonnages were close to normal, perhaps a bit below. Autumn was devoid of the strong high pressure systems we’ve been accustomed to in recent years and this compelled additional planning and scheduling on the part of our winemakers and vignerons. The fall pattern became clear early—dry sunny days, perhaps a bit cooler than normal, punctuated by a showery spell, then more sun. Our harvest started on September 14th, close to normal, and was focused on whites—Pinot gris and Chardonnay—with a fair amount of our Redside Pinot noir, our earliest ripening site, as well. Then it was a matter of planning and patience—just getting into the rhythm of the season—confident that our experience, and the experience of all our growers, would be manifest in sound, ripe grapes. This was indeed the case and we finished the harvest with our highest-elevation Mia Block Pinot Noir on October 11th, nearly a month after we started, in bright sunshine with a delighted crew! Fittingly, we celebrated with our bubbles, Mia Mousseaux, made from Mia Block Pinot Noir. ” – Don Lange, executive winemaker and owner
LANGE ESTATE WINERY
KING ESTATE 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/11/19
“Harvest at King Estate began on Sept. 21 and wrapped up Oct. 9. Our schedule was more compressed than usual for a couple of reasons: working around weather events and having less fruit to pick due to lighter fruit set. Our yield will be lower than last year but our quality standards will be maintained. 2019 can be seen as more of a classic Oregon harvest. While somewhat cooler and wetter than recent years, Oregon forged its reputation making great wines in vintages like this one that produce the complexity and aromatics along with lower alcohol levels that people have come to expect from Oregon Pinot noir. True lovers of Oregon wine want each vintage to express itself. The greatest wine regions in the world––and we include the Willamette Valley among them––will experience different conditions from year to year; that’s part of what makes the wines great.” – Brent Stone, head winemaker
SOTER VINEYARDS 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/10/19
“This is such an exciting time of year! The whole valley is buzzing with chatter about the vintage… and of course lots of talk about the rain. For many of you and many of our peers, the recent weather trends seem unusual: cool and changing weather patterns, rain in September, the days obviously getting shorter… all these conditions are actually quite normal for this cool climate. What many folks are forgetting is that vintage variation is one of the charms of this world-class winegrowing region. We have been experiencing warm, generous growing seasons and—for the most part—ideal harvest conditions going back to 2012. Frankly, it is that string of “easy” harvests that is unusual. Yes, there was the real anomaly of 2013 when a fine growing season was abruptly compromised by a freak weather event. Yes, there was noteworthy opportunity loss that year. But the fact is, we bottled some great wines in 2013.
With over 40 harvests as a winemaker, you would be hard-pressed to find a bad wine in Tony’s history. The leaders of the production staff here at Soter are all seasoned veterans and the body of work is impeccable. And the opportunity to make great wines this year is still on the vine. So trust me… this too will be a fine vintage for us.” – James Cahill, winemaker and partner
RR WINES 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/10/19
“Memories, memories! This harvest resembles the ol’ days, prior to the recent warm climate vintages. Ol’ days, when chats with old friends waiting to offload an ancient truck’s fruit are laced with cool growing season, early rains, hang time, bags of sugar, birds, electric sunset, botrytis, more birds… sunny days are overrated…” – Harry Peterson-Nedry, winemaker/owner
THE FOUR GRACES 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/10/19
“This harvest has been what I would call a classic Willamette Valley vintage. We did benefit from a relatively early spring which allowed for plenty of time to ripen the Pinot noir. Although fall rain did arrive sooner than normal this year, the fruit still reached the desired Brix levels we were aiming to achieve. We
started harvesting our grapes before the rains in September to ensure we were able to pick fruit of the highest quality from our estate vineyards. Overall,
the fruit we harvested was excellent so I expect the 2019 vintage will produce beautiful wines.” – Marc Myers, winemaker
THE FOUR GRACES
DOBBES FAMILY ESTATE 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/10/19
“We have 10 interns in the Dobbes cellar who I am teaching how to handle harvest, some first timers and some veterans, but all are willing to work hard for the sake of beautiful wine. We are currently dodging the rain and holding out on picking certain vineyards until we reach ‘peak’ maturity.
Due to the abundance of recent rain and cool temperatures, we have been forced into an early harvest this year. With bud break in mid-April, I expected Willamette Valley Pinot noir harvest to start the first week of October. We started five to seven days later than 2018, but the rain and cool temperatures have now caught us up with 2018.
This vintage is overall cooler than some of the hot vintages we’ve had more recently in the Willamette Valley. The 2019 vintage is a bit more ‘normal’ for Oregon wine.
I’m expecting less intensity than the last five vintages. Cooler vintages produce lighter bodied, more elegant wine with moderate alcohol and acid. 2019 is warmer than the vintages of 2010 and ’11, but cooler than the last seven vintages.” – Andy McVay, winemaker
DOBBES FAMILY ESTATE
DOMAINE DROUHIN OREGON 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/10/19
“2019 is different than the past five years, where the rhythm of the growing season was relatively high temperatures and dry conditions. This year the weather stayed mild, allowing a lovely slow ripeness which suits the Pinot noir very well. Exciting! – Véronique Drouhin, winemaker
DOMAINE DROUHIN OREGON
ARGYLE WINERY 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/10/19
“Although it felt cooler than previous years, the phenology was almost identical to 2018. Certainly wetter than last year but we started harvest on the same day, and finished only a couple days later. Heavy off and on rain during harvest presented a threat of botrytis but we went in to it without any disease, pulled some extra leaves, and came out on the other side really clean, ripe, and with beautiful fruit flavors. Honestly, 3 weeks ago I was stressing about what could happen but now I am super excited again about the 2019 wines.” – Geoff Hall, viticulturist
GROCHAU CELLARS 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/10/19
“We are 90% of the way done with harvest and will be all in by Monday—looking at the weather the harvest window seems to shut firmly on Wednesday. The quality of fruit so far has been good to excellent and my harvest crew is tired to exhausted. This year’s weather forced us to harvest grapes much more quickly compared to other years, and as a result our winery is bursting at the seams with fermenters—a few of which were borrowed from our winery friends. I feel fortunate to have such a friendly community to call on and was moved that so many responded to help without hesitation. We are a region that works to help one another with equipment loans and advice in all matters of viticulture, winemaking and business; we truly have something special in Oregon.” – John Grochau, winemaker
ET FILLE WINES 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/10/19
“September weather provided a dramatic bookend to the 2019 growing season, with more rain than expected and a cold snap that brought night temperatures down to the high 30s in the second half of the month. The rain and cooler temperatures meant we had different challenges to address than the warm and dry 2014–2018 vintages. We took active steps to mitigate mold and mildew development such as field sorting, late season sprays, and leaf pulling to open airflow.
Harvest was highly compressed with all five of our Pinot noir sites coming in to the winery within five days. The primary reason for this was to avoid mold and mildew development from the rains. Now that all the fruit is safely in the winery, I am pleased with the moderate alcohol levels, acid retention, and aromatics thus far. I would expect a more classically Oregon vintage of alcohols in the 12.3–13.3% range, ending pHs around 3.50–3.60, and more subtle tannins.” – Jessica Mozeico, winemaker/owner
ET FILLE WINES
WINDERLEA VINEYARD & WINERY 2019 HARVEST UPDATE, 9/19/19
“After a string of warm and dry(er) vintages we are once again having an Oregon harvest. In the last week temperatures have dropped in to the 60s and 70s and we’ve had several rain events. The forecast for the next few days promises much of the same. One of the great learned abilities of Oregon growers and winemakers is dodging raindrops and this vintage will give us the opportunity to brush off those skills. While the press will do much handwringing over this, the reality is that this is what we do. The cool temperatures and moisture will slow down the increase in sugar while allowing flavor and aroma compounds to develop. We have a classic Oregon vintage in the making; low alcohol, complex aromas, flavors, and nice acidity. I’m already looking forward to tasting it.” – Bill Sweat, Proprietor
WINDERLEA VINEYARD & WINERY
DAY WINES 2018 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/4/18
“This is maybe the best vintage that I’ve seen,” owner and winemaker Brianne Day reports, while processing Johan Vineyard Pinot noir and some Müller-Thurgau and Pinot Blanc from Anne Amie. “I ended up picking up more fruit than I anticipated from Johan Vineyard because it just looked so good. And the acids are really great still, which is awesome. With how cold it’s been at night, too, that’s been a godsend—one day we ran out of dry ice but we didn’t even need it.”
BOEDECKER CELLARS 2018 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/2/18
“The fruit has just been great,” says co-owner Athena Pappas while supervising the sorting of 777 Pinot noir from the Finnigan Vineyard in Chehalem Mountains. Co-owner Stewart Boedecker adds, “It’s that weird year where everything’s ripe, but it’s not soft or squishy or overripe, and the birds haven’t shown up yet. And that’s been true across the board.” Boedecker had their last big pick on October 2 with seven tons of Finnigan Pinot and some Gewurztraminer from the same vineyard.
RR WINES 2018 HARVEST UPDATE, 09/28/18
The heat goes on! Warm, dry and beautiful can’t be bad! This growing season has been under control compared to some of the “hot-uns” of the last 5–6 years, with not such extreme highs as past “Region 2” recent years, plus nicely cooling nights in general. Mother Nature kept it bone dry until we needed it the first couple weeks of September, in order to stabilize chemistries and balance the vines. Fruit has been impeccably clean, ripe, with retained acid and great flavors. At this point all Pinot Noir will be harvested by the end of the first week of October, a week or two early. The pace is hectic, but not insane. May it stay that way! – Harry Peterson-Nedry, co-owner
BELLS UP WINERY 2018 HARVEST UPDATE, 09/25/18
We pulled 630 pounds of estate Seyval blanc on Sunday 9/23 and are SUPER happy with how it turned out. We’re picking up guava and pineapple flavors already. Last year we had 100 pounds and it made 23 bottles! We anticipate getting a dozen or so (hopefully a bit more) cases this year—meaning it will likely only be available to select wine club members. To be determined. We also pulled about about 2.5 tons of Pommard (blueberry and passionfruit flavors) and 667 (watermelon—hardcore watermelon) Pinot noir from our estate vineyard on Sunday. It’s currently in cold-soak—coming up on 48 hours here to get that super-dark color we’re known for—and will be pressed off today. We’re targeting roughly 150-ish cases in production at this point. – Sara Specter, Chief Marketing Officer
BELLS UP WINERY
A BLOOMING HILL VINEYARD & WINERY 2018 HARVEST UPDATE, 09/18/18
Today we’re picking Pinot noir, clone 667 from our lower vineyard, Gemini, which is the name of the wine from this block. We’ve picked about 6 or 7 hoppers so far today and will end the day with two ton-and-a-half fermenters filled. Weather is great, grapes look beautiful and taste delicious. The numbers are perfect. What more could we ask for! – Holly Witte, owner
A BLOOMING HILL VINEYARD & WINERY
UTOPIA VINEYARDS 2018 HARVEST UPDATE, 09/18/18
Owner Daniel Warnshuis is bringing in 15 tons of Pinot Noir, Utopia’s second pick of the season after two large blocks of Pinot and one block of Chardonnay over the weekend. The 2018 vintage has been cooler—more of a “classic” Oregon vintage, which he says has been welcome after the hot recent vintages. “Because we dry farm, too, the little bit of rain we’ve gotten has been great,” he explains. Most of the fruit picked today will go into Utopia’s Estate Pinot Noir, but some will go into a White Pinot Noir, which Dan made for the first time last year. The fruit will be 100% destemmed this year, “just for fun,” and as usual fermented with native yeasts.
WINDERLEA 2018 HARVEST UPDATE, 09/13/18
There is a song titled, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” It’s about Christmas, which has its obvious attributes, but I think Harvest is my favorite time of the year. Harvest is a time of absolute clarity. It can be like drinking from a fire hose, especially when you’re trying to coordinate picking at multiple vineyards or for multiple client wineries, but Harvest is the clear priority. Everything else falls by the wayside, except for milestone family events (you know who you are). As an adult, that kind of clarity is rare, and a bit of a luxury. Usually, we have multiple pressing issues vying for our attention, but if you are a winegrower, for about a month a year, one thing matters above all else – harvesting grapes. For that clarity, that singleness of purpose, I am grateful. – Bill Sweat, Proprietor
WESTMOUNT 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/17/17
“The 2017 vintage is a return to normalcy.” Winemaker Brian Irvine states as he reflectively stares over the Pinot Noir sorting line. “We have had 3 vintages in a row of above-average heat, and don’t get me wrong, the wines produced were beautiful, but a year like 2017 is what makes Oregon unique.”
PROJECT M WINES 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/13/17
Bloom occurred during a “normal” period, between June 19th and June 25th for Pinot Noir, depending on the vineyard site. This set the stage for early October picks. The season progressed cool until August when we began to see heat spikes. These heat spikes were accompanied and possibly moderated by, a smoke induced haze from wild fires to the north, east and south. The heat continued into early September then things cooled, especially nighttime temperatures. Smoke was not severe enough to make “smoke taint” a concern (our fruit is sourced exclusively from the Willamette Valley).
The vintage is showing unusual grape chemistries. Earlier, warmer sites while showing phenolic maturation out pacing sugar accumulation did yield potential alcohols near of over 14%. Later sites showed a more dramatic dissociation of sugar and phenolic development with potential alcohols closer 13%. Acid profiles varied significantly with Titratable Acidities ranging from 4.8 to 6.6. The lower range occurred in both warmer, early sites and cooler later sights and was unrelated to potential alcohol. Despite the divergent TA’s, pH’s appeared normal or slightly lower than normal. Malic Acid levels are normal to lower than expected.
Hang times permitted sufficient seed maturation with excellent skin maturation; conditions for extraction should be ideal. At the same time, bunch closure occurred somewhat earlier than normal, which because of reduced berry exposure to the sun, may have limited tannin production. Higher yields may have further impacted tannin and anthocyanin levels. However, cold soaks show no shortage of color. It is, at this time, too early to assess the structural potential of the wines.
Project M picked the last of its Pinot Noir on October 9th, ahead of the extended rain event that was forecasted (and is occurring) in the days that followed. Botrytis levels were normal but increasing.
Elements of the vintage are reminiscent of 2008; good phenolic maturities with moderate sugar accumulation. On the other hand, the range of TA’s, especially the lower end make comparisons to this vintage very difficult. At Project M we feel we have an opportunity to make classic Oregon Pinot Noir in 2017. Though we are very excited we are managing our optimism until we get more clarity on the structural potential of the wines, after pressing and barreling. – Jerry D. Murray, Winemaker
PROJECT M WINES
STOLLER FAMILY ESTATE 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/11/17
There is a lot of fruit! The average clusters are much heavier than normal. At Stoller we have seen pinot noir clusters averaging 150 berries per cluster and this year they have average 250 berries. That combined with a great fruit set during bloom equals volume. We have had three “waves” of harvest. Started mid September with grapes for sparkling and then pinot rosé and worked into pinot noir. Then we had some rain which slowed down the sugar accumulation, fortunately without damaging the grapes, and picked up again with another big harvest of pinot noir and all of our chardonnay from last week of September to early October. At that point the weather was looking uncooperative and we were considering picking more of our fruit to avoid the rain. Fortunately the weather shifted to a perfect condition of a week plus of dry sunny days and cold nights allowing for us to leave things to develop the flavors we were looking for plus make room in tanks and finish the first harvest wave of fermentations. We had a small amount of rain again this last weekend and then dry conditions that allowed us to bring in the final pinot noir and chardonnay we were waiting on.
The sugar levels are averaging 23 brix and the flavors are there. We have much to be thankful for with our bumper crop and cooperative weather. The biggest challenge I have seen this year with harvest is finding room for all the fruit. There is a lot of really good fruit still out there at many vineyards simply due to lack of space to fit it all.
STOLLER FAMILY ESTATE
ANDERSON FAMILY VINEYARD 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/11/17
Great tasting & smelling fruit and juice. Numbers are spot on (22.5 brix in Chardonnay, 23.5 in Pinot), surprising given all the summer heat spikes. It’s the first time in awhile we harvested Chardonnay before Pinot. I believe this vintage really benefitted from cooler, light rain September: grapes and vines recovered, sent carbs out to the fruit as the stomata opened and metabolic juices flowed.
Love these “normal” October harvests!
Bloom dates at our vineyard said October, but we wrung hands through the heat and smoke haze.
Now we’re getting nice rain to put the vines to bed happy with carbs for next season’s early growth.
Life in Oregon Wine Country is good. Our thoughts are with California Wine Country as they battle fires. Wonder if these fires would have been so intense before all the climate variation in the last two decades.
ANDERSON FAMILY VINEYARD
WINDERLEA 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/10/17
Harvest combines the best features of physical exhaustion (deep sleep) and elation (we see a lot of beautiful sunrises), planning (expected harvest dates, yields, and which fermenters to assign, for multiple vineyards) and opportunism (what do you mean it’s going to rain on Wednesday?). It’s a time when you don’t notice that your hands are discolored until you are with people who don’t work in the industry and you feel like your hair and your clothes will always be sticky. But when you walk in to the winery each day and are greeted with the smells of fermenting grapes you think, “This is why we do this.” Happy Harvest everyone. -Bill Sweat, Proprietor
WINDERLEA 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 09/21/17
Wine writers love rain. It gives them a story. Usually, they want to write that rain causes dilution, but that’s not typically the issue. It’s raining as I write this on Monday. Meteorologists were about to declare that we were in a drought based on the number of days we’ve had without rain. Sugars are running ahead of flavors and acids are dropping. The rain, and the cooler temperatures, will give us a bit of a respite and allow the flavors to catch up. Stems are lignified so the grapes are not going to be much affected by new moisture in the soil. The current forecast is for an inch or so of rain through Thursday and then sunny and cool through October 6th. The rain is a good thing. Our biggest short term challenge will be finding harvest crews this weekend because we are all going to want to pick. More later… -Bill Sweat, Proprietor
WINDERLEA 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 09/15/17
With the 2016 harvest we began the process of making our first sparkling wine. Everyone at Winderlea agrees that you should drink bubbles every day and in a few years we’ll have one of our own to add to the mix. Harvest decisions for sparkling seem almost counter-intuitive if your experience is with making still wines. We pick early to minimize phenolic development and to capture fruit with low sugar (18 – 19 brix vs. 22 – 23 brix for still wine), low pH, and high Total Acidity. We’ve been picking fruit for our still wines earlier, especially in these warm vintages, to preserve natural acidity. Sparkling has us picking a week or so earlier than that. We picked Chardonnay from Carabella Vineyard last Saturday and will pick Crawford Beck Pinot noir at the end of the week. We’re also going to pick some high elevation Chardonnay from Hyland Vineyard this year. Since we’re all such sparkling lovers, the hardest part is waiting the 3 years or so until our first release. We are really looking forward to 2019. – Bill Sweat, Proprietor
CHEHALEM WINES 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/09/17
We’ve entered the tough part of harvest and crush. Almost three weeks in, nothing is new now, and while we know the end is near its still a grind and wearying. Coffee is the life’s blood that gets the winery crew from bleary, eye-rubbing, early morning dragging to energetically grabbing a punchdown tool or hose at the beginning of the day…
DUCK POND 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/06/17
TREVOR CHLANDA (DUCK POND CELLARS)
WILLAKENZIE 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/04/17
The grapes started rolling in on September 22nd, beginning with Chardonnay and the first blocks of Terres Basses and Triple Black Slopes. Our Winery crew, including this year’s batch of Harvest interns have been busy preparing bins and tanks. Winemaker Erik Kramer is in the vineyards daily, tasting grapes off the vines and making decisions on which blocks are ripe for picking.
“While it’s been a very dry summer, the combination of our soils with high water holding capacity and very wet dormant season provided plenty of moisture for the plants to deal with the lack of moisture over the summer. This recurring, annual shift between maritime and Mediterranean conditions is one of many things that makes the Willamette Valley unique amongst growing regions and an ideal place for viticulture,” says Kramer.
ELK COVE VINEYARD 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 10/12/17
We’ve brought in 50% so far with some record-breaking days. Wednesday October 9th was our biggest day ever, with 110 tons landing on the crush-pad in one day. That’s enough fruit to produce 6,600 cases cases of wine. At 800 grapes/bottle, that means over 63 million grapes!
Interestingly, this is the first year Elk Cove is going 100% Estate. So it’s an exciting vintage for us.
We are starting to post harvest info here for Elk Cove:
ELK COVE VINEYARDS
KING ESTATE HARVEST UPDATE – HARVEST KICK OFF VIDEO
ANAM CARA 2017 HARVEST UPDATE, 09/21/17
Pre-Harvest update #1: Four days of measurable rainfall has helped us on several fronts. First of all (and possibly most important at this point) is the welcome hydration of the dry-farmed young vines. With no irrigation in place, we have painstaikingly handwatered these 2-year-olds to get them through the hottest, dryest summer in the vineyard’s history, and support their immature root systems. Our objective has always been to encourage the roots to seek the water table. The longer/deeper the roots, the more exchange they have with the soil and geologic profile which is ultimately transported to the grapes and beyond. The established Wadenswil, Chardonnay and Riesling are proving that deep roots help weather the heat well. Look closely and you’ll see the cover crop legumes beginning to sprout. Missy too.