Tuesday, August 16, 2005

2005 Harvest For Washington State

The Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG) has released the lastest crop estimate for the 2005 vintages in Washington State. Remember these predictions are just what they are - predictions, but WAWGG believes that Washington will have a record crop for 2005. The largest crop recorded in Washington state was in 2002 and 115,000 tons of wine grapes were crushed. Here are the WAWGG numbers (2004 numbers in parentheses):

Bearing acres: 27,800 (27,457)
Crop estimate: 124,563 tons (107,000)

At this time, while many of the red varietals have taken on their purple hue, they have not technically finished the verasion process as the brix is not what it should be for harvest. Of course the Chardonnay will change from the color green to - um - well- the color green, but will eventually take on a softer and plumper feel to the touch and become an opaque green. The prediction for harvest is in about three weeks.

For the past 10 days, a huge fire has been keeping a community of firefighters busy in Pomeroy, an Eastern town about 67 miles from the Walla Walla Valley. Friday night I went outside after midnight to see if I could get a glimpse of the meteor showers. The sky was very hazy from the east making the natural light show difficult to see (saw about five shooters). The smell of smoke in the night air made me wonder how it would effect the grapes. Could it be that we may not have to use any heavy toasted oak barrels for the 2005 vintage?

The truth is that the winds have been shifting the smoke in another direction, so it appears our 2005 harvest will be safe.

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