2019 – Year in Review


The vintage we harvest fruit from our estate vineyard arrived.  Beautiful Tannat, Malbec, Dolcetto red fruit was harvested.  Small amounts of Gewurztraminer and Riesling were picked from Purtteman vineyard as well.  The Stone Tree vineyard crop was ruined by a range fire started by a neighboring farmer.  Therefore, Tsillan Cellars estate vineyard supplied high quality Cabernet Franc and Merlot fruit.  Finally, the very promising Native River vineyard filled the need for Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.  The entire vintage was almost ruined by a rapid drop in temperatures early the second week of September.  

Some Highlights

The Winter:  Winter temperatures were cold yet not too cold with the low being 10 degrees.  At no time were the vines in danger of winter injury.  Pruning in March was a cakewalk as temps ranged from 21 to 45 degrees.  One only had to prune around the days it snowed or rained.  Pruning was completed on schedule in late – March.  Snow pack was fairly light throughout the winter.

The Spring:  Abnormally cool temperatures resulted in later than normal bud break in April.  April, May and June saw a steady drop precipitation each month (1.2 inches  in April finishing with 0.57 inch in June).  There was a very close brush with spring frost as temperatures dropped to 34 degrees during the month of April.  April and May were much cooler than normal however, temperatures in June heated up quickly.  The Purtteman Vineyard came through these trails and tribulations unscathed.  

The Summer:  Late – June, July, August and early September temps were warm topping out at 99 degrees in August.  Despite the heat in June, July and August, there was moderate precipitation each month.  This very good growing season came to a screeching halt the end of the first week of September when the temperature dropped to 33 degrees.  Lake Chelan area vines almost shut down.  The temperatures we usually experience in late – September and early – October never recovered.  Only vineyards which had moderate to light crop loads fully ripened.  Our was one of them.  The issue of forest fires was a non-issue this growing season.  Purtteman vineyard vines showed excellent growth this summer.

The Harvest:  We purchased French oak for our 2019 wines.  1,300 cases worth of good quality grapes were harvested and crushed.  Every source of fruit we made wine from showed well.   The 2019 harvest put area winemakers to the test as they needed to show their skill to coax the most quality possible from grapes.  

Post Harvest:  The yeast and malo – lactic fermentations are complete.  The wine quality is solid.  Slightly different winemaking techniques were used to bring out excellent deep purple – dark ruby red hues as well as very good structure.  The 2019 vintage starts their 20 month barrel aging process.