Since my past post on September 19th (one week ago), weather predictions for the Yakima Valley have significantly changed. At that time, indications were that temperatures would be in the low to mid 70’s. Certainly not ideal ripening weather.
I’m very happy to announce that as viewed on the N.O.A.A. weather website, we’re now looking forward to temperatures hovering around 79 to 82 degrees for the upcoming week depending on location.
This will most clearly cause the vines to “jump” rapidly in sugar (and hopefully bring up pH’s as well). Now, it could be “scramble like there’s no tomorrow,” as when this occurs, grape vines will rocket up the fruit development as they seem to intuitively sense the season is nearly over.
No doubt next week we’ll begin crush in spades! Clearly, the Tempranillo at both Sugarloaf and Two Coyote will have to come off the vines. As of Saturday the 25th, Grenache has even moved nicely, now in the low 23 brix range. Mourvedre is still a concern but I have a feeling that it will take a good leap as well.
I think predicting Pacific Northwest weather is similar to predicting when Mt. Rainier will erupt. You know something’s gonna’ happen sooner or later, but suggesting anything specific in advance is merely speculative. What they have in common however, is that essentially, both are unpredictable!
Well, that’s farming … you have to roll with it. Regardless, it’s best to be well prepared for both events, whether it’s grapes or a plume of ash. In either case, it’s always wise to have a good supply of wine on hand.
It’s back to the Yakima Valley in a day or two. Time to munch some grapes, see how crispy the seeds crunch, and feel for that balance across the palate.