The 2014 growing season is considered to be one of the finest if not the finest vintage in the Lake Chelan AVA to date. Pure perfection from the month of April through the end of October. It has dawned on me that some may wonder what “AVA” stands for. For example “Lake Chelan AVA” or “Columbia Valley AVA”. AVA is an abbreviation for American Viticultural Area. Viticulture is the science of studying grapes. In order to have the federal government assign a particular area as an AVA that area must be significantly different from area outside of the boundaries of the AVA. The Lake Chelan AVA is different than it’s neighboring Columbia Valley AVA. It is different for two primary reasons. The soils were formed by glacial action versus a gigantic ice age flood. Secondly, the 1,497 foot deep Lake Chelan has a warming effect on the land around the lake during fall, winter and spring months.
The Winter: Despite sub-zero or near zero temperatures, Washington State grape growers escaped another fall – winter without any noticeable winter injury. The lowest temperature was a minus 1 degrees. The grape varieties we work with had winter hardiness down to a minus 7 to minus 15 degrees depending on which grape variety is considered.
The Spring: Optimal temperatures in eastern Washington vineyards resulted in a carefree bud break period during the month of April. May and early June had normal precipitation and average temps compared to the previous growing season. No danger of spring frost occurred.
The Summer: July and August temps were on average warmer than those of 2013. September and October were once again, ideal with warm – dry days. The high temperature reached was 102 degrees. 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 Leaf Roll virus continued to spread.
The Harvest: This year, we purchased both American and French oak barrels. 1,600 cases worth of perfectly ripened grapes were hand sorted and crushed into our fermentation vats.
Post Harvest: All of the fermentations were completed as desired. A fabulous crop of grapes has been transformed into exceptional wines.