2013 was all around great. In fact, it was a tad warmer and dryer than 2012. The grapes were healthy, nice and ripe, brimming with superb flavors and aromas. We picked our complement of Yakima valley AVA fruit for our reds and continued our sparkling wine program using Joe Gerber’s Chardonnay with a lot of anticipation. It was exciting working with yet another vintage of Lake Chelan AVA fruit.
The Winter: Again, Washington State grape growers escaped another fall – winter without any noticeable winter injury. I do not recall what the snow pack was however, it appeared to be adequate for irrigation needs. The lowest temperature was a plus 4 degrees. The grape varieties we work with had winter hardiness down to a minus 5 to minus 15 degrees depending on which grape variety is considered. Athena and I begin to discuss looking for real estate suitable for an estate vineyard and winery facility within the Lake Chelan AVA!
The Spring: Optimal temperatures in eastern Washington vineyards resulted in a carefree bud break period. The search for property continues. The site has to be perfect. May and early June had normal precipitation and slightly cooler temps compared to the previous growing season.
The Summer: July and August did not have the temperature spike to 105 degrees as we did in 2012 but the overall temps were on average warmer. September and October were once again, ideal with warm – dry days. Yeah, we Washington State winemakers are a spoiled lot. Everything we brought in around the state possessed very good quality however, our source for Merlot fruit had an alarming development. Sadly, the Buoy vineyard began to show the dreaded Leaf Roll virus.
The Harvest: This year, we purchased both American and French oak barrels. 1,500 cases worth of healthy – delicious grapes found their way into our fermentation vats. We decided to change it up a tad by buying a bit of Petit Verdot for our TriUmph blend. It worked out extremely well.
Post Harvest: All the wines came through with flying colors except the Syrah used for a blending component of the Whistle Punk. The yeast did not quite finish fermenting out the sugars and the resultant wine had 0.2% more residual sugar than I would have preferred. What do I know. The wine sold like hot cakes.