2021 – Year in Review


The 2021 growing season was a season to remember. The months April through May were ideal.  Then, Mother Nature flipped the thermostat setting up resulting in record periods of above normal temperatures.  Never before has the Lake Chelan valley experienced weeks of 100 – 115 degree heat.  Mercifully, temperatures 20 to 25 degrees cooler kicked in beginning early – September.  The 2021 vintage was saved by “normal” September and October weather.  I would score the 2021 vintage a solid 9 on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being perfection.

Some Highlights

The Winter:  Weather was cool yet not too cold this winter. There was a decent amount of snowfall which occurred in January, February and early – March.  Pruning was completed by the third week of March.  By all accounts, our Purtteman estate vines came through the cold months in great shape.

The Spring:  As mentioned in the Overview, our Spring weather was ideal.  Bud break was pretty much on schedule occurring the final week of April.  We are so impressed with each of the grape varieties we planted in our Purtteman Estate vineyard.  Additional Dolcetto vines were purchased and planted this spring.  Watching the young grape shoots grow in girth and length is always an inspiration.  As shoot length approaches 6 to 8 inches one may commence counting the tiny grape clusters.  It is at this period winemakers dare to begin approximating their future grape tonnage…….  I know I fantasized having double the amount of Purtteman estate vineyard Tannat, Malbec and Dolcetto in barrels by the end of the 2021 harvest.

The Summer:  Fairly dry – very warm conditions persisted from June through early September.  Spent a lot of time walking Purtteman vineyard row by row ensuring the vines were receiving enough water.  The abnormally high temperatures day after day resulted in much less disease pressure.

The Harvest:  We had a major shift in temperatures downward in early – September.  The cooler temps enabled our vines to fully ripen grapes possessing phenomenal color, flavors and moderate acidity.  It also slowed the ripening process somewhat which helped space out the picking!  Our C R Sandidge 2021 harvest had us processing a record number of tons of grapes.  We now have about 1,600 cases worth of 2021 vintage wine in tank and barrel.

Post Harvest:  The 2021 wines quality shows exceptional potential.  Nice dark color, aromas and flavors of ripe black and red fruits are present.  The tannin and acid levels are excellent.  We had record crops of our Purtteman vineyard 2020 Malbec, Dolcetto and Tannat.  Each brought superb quality to the harvest!