Before we get all excited about harvest and crush in September, here is a snapshot of our year in the Yakima Valley, verbiage courtesy of a rediscovered vintage Visitor’s Center brochure.
Spring, First Signs
IN THE VINEYARD: Buds begin to swell, budbreak, and the vines begin to show the new season’s green. Cover crop and grasses begin to grow and surrounding orchards bloom.
IN THE CELLAR: Bottling wines for summer wine releases (fresh and fruity white wines, dry roses) and young reds for fall release. Warmer temperatures encourage the red wine barrels to complete their secondary, or “malolactic” fermentation.
Summer, Grow Grow Grow
IN THE VINEYARD:
Vines flower and their delicate scent perfumes the air. Grape clusters “set” and begin to show this vintage’s crop. Winemakers take advantage of the warm weather to check out the upcoming crop in the vineyard.
Red grapes color up after going through “Veraison” and begin to soften and build grape sugars. Toward the end of the summer, the varietal flavors are apparent and sampling for harvest maturity begins.
Fall, The Action Begins
IN THE VINEYARD: Harvest begins! The entire year’s crop will be harvested between September and November. If you’re lucky, you can see some of the activity and share in the excitement of a new vintage.
IN THE CELLAR: Fermentation turns the cellar into its own “aroma-therapy” center. Yeasty, fruity and delicious aromas are everywhere.
Winter, Peace & Quiet
IN THE VINEYARD: Frost generally drops the last leaves off the vines, and they descent into dormancy for the winter. The bare vine architecture is in stark contrast to the way they looked in mid-summer with lush, green leaves.