The 2016 growing season turned out to be quite nice. The dream of establishing our Lake Chelan AVA estate vineyard on our 14 acre property was realized. Approximately 1.25 acres were planted to; Tannat, Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Oh happy day! We brought in Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from Buoy vineyard and the Horse Heavens Hill AVA vineyard Phinney Hill respectively. Malbec fruit was supplied by Buoy. Merlot fruit was grown for us by a Lake Chelan AVA vineyard.
The Winter: Mild winter temperatures with the low being a balmy plus 7 degrees enabled the vines to easily make it through winter unscathed. Although the weather was not terribly cold, it was cool enough to help vines obtain the rest needed to commence with the 2016 growing season. There was also a healthy snow pack form January through the end of March.
The Spring: Temperatures in eastern Washington vineyards and the Lake Chelan AVA resulted in a decent spring for bud break during the third week of April. April, May and June experienced about the same precipitation each month (about 0.6 inches per month). There was a close brush with a spring frost as temperatures dropped to 36 degrees during the month of June. Just mother nature keeping us on our toes….. Spent a glorious amount of time tying and training our young vineyard!
The Summer: Late – June, July, August and early September temps were warm topping out at 96 degrees. The precipitation was normal with sporadic rain in June and July while August and September were nice and dry. This growing season was excellent.
The Harvest: As in the three previous years, we purchased both American and French oak barrels. 1,400 cases worth of nice ripe grapes were crushed into our fermentation vats. The ebb and flow of receiving fruit, crushing/pressing and fermenting was quite smooth. Though it is two years off, I find myself anxious to make wines from our estate Purtteman vineyard.
Post Harvest: We decided to utilize approximately 50% of the Petite Sirah crop for our Port program. The balance went into our Whistle Punk blend. All of the yeast and malo – lactic fermentations were completed without a hitch. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot were used for our TriUmph and Caris wines.