Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
10.30.2013  
 

Idaho Grape Harvest Nears Conclusion

Winemakers anticipate high quality despite cold spring and September rains

 
by Peter Mitham
 
 
“idaho
 
Crews harvest wine grapes at Bitner Vineyards in Caldwell, Idaho.
Caldwell, Idaho—While vintners from the Willamette to the Okanagan valleys are forecasting a stellar vintage, growers in Idaho are looking back on a challenging season as harvest winds down. Conditions in Idaho mirrored those across the Northwest, but many locals considered them highly unusual for the region, throwing expectations into disarray.

“It’s been a different year, definitely. Everything started out really late, and then a lot of the fruit we harvested came off a couple of weeks early,” said Patrick Williamson, manager at Williamson Orchards and Vineyards in Caldwell, Idaho, which typically produces 1,200 cases per year.

Returning to Idaho after six years away, during which time he saw grape harvests in Washington state and California, Williamson took the weather in stride as he reacclimatized to the state’s weather.

But not everyone saw the variations as normal. “The rest of my family would say otherwise,” he told Wines & Vines. “The freak monsoonal rain in September, and just how cold it was this past winter, the frost-freeze event we had around bud break, and then the hot summer.”

September’s rains caused much of the family’s Riesling crop to split, limiting the possibilities for a late-harvest wine. The grapes were instead harvested first, in mid-September, whereas normally the family’s Riesling grapes are harvested this week.

But this week, harvesters are focusing on late-maturing reds such as Sangiovese and Mourvedre, which needed the hang time to come into balance after a long, hot summer.

That being said, harvest could have a sweet conclusion: Williamson expects to pick some of the remaining Riesling for ice wine—weather permitting—during the next couple of weeks. “We’re hoping. It may take longer,” he said.

The outcome is better than many were expecting at bud break, just six months ago. Speaking with Wines & Vines at the time, fellow Caldwell grapegrower Ron Bitner of Bitner Vineyards said that a new planting near his property stood to lose 30% to 40% of its new vines (see “Idaho Wine Grapes get Early Start.”) While older vines seemed to emerge large and unscathed from a month of sub-zero temperatures this past January, a blast of cold air at bud break in late April delayed an accurate read on the damage.

“We had a hard time trying to determine if the vines had gotten enough damage that they had to be cut back and started all over again, just due to delayed bud break,” Williamson said.

Bitner said temperatures at his property in Caldwell never fell below 26º F, explaining that good air drainage on Idaho’s sloping vineyard sites helped cool air pool at elevations below where most of the state’s vineyards lie.

“As long as our vineyards are on the hillsides, it’s got to get down to 22º, 23º F to really cause serious bud damage,” Bitner said at the time.

The results of this year’s harvest bear that out. Williamson said fruit quality seems to be solid. Conditions were right for the control of fungal diseases (the rains in September notwithstanding). And while the Idaho Wine Commission reports that yields stand to be lighter, the flavors should be more concentrated in the fruit, giving winemakers good raw materials for the vintage.

“I have no doubt that this year’s wine will taste great and be some of the best wine Idaho has seen to date,” said Leslie Preston, proprietor and winemaker at Coiled Wines in Garden City, Idaho, in a summary of the harvest the state’s wine commission issued this week.

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
June 2014 $562 million
5%
$7,549 million
6%
June 2013 $535 million $7,094 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
June 2014 $87 million
17%
$1,669 million
11%
June 2013 $74 million $1,510 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
June 2014 300
34%
220
21%
June 2013 224 182
     
 
MORE » Released on 07.15.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wines & Vines
Packaging Conference
 
Learn More »
 
 

Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • July 29
     
    Organic Winegrowing Conference
     
  • July 30
     
    Sweet and Fortified Wine Association Meeting
     
  • July 30 - August 1
     
    Indy International Wine Competition
     
  • August 1-3
     
    West of West Festival
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Wineries May Lose Internet Domain Dispute »
 
All these arguments could be levied by any industry associated with any gTLD, new or...
Reader: Doug Barnett
 
Article: Wineries May Lose Internet Domain Dispute »
 
Do brands get hijacked now? Even though .wine does not yet exist, are there false...
Reader: Larry Chandler
 
Article: Resistant Weeds Threaten Vineyards »
 
Roundup is not benign. It does not always break down in a day or two...
Reader: Robert Rex
 
Article: Resistant Weeds Threaten Vineyards »
 
Mitigating water use in the vineyard in the first place is also an applicable tactic....
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Resistant Weeds Threaten Vineyards »
 
Having managed vineyards that have used both approaches, I would say that a diverse approach...
Reader: Guest
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2014 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Direct To Consumer Ins...
 St. Helena, CA
Sales and Marketing
 Controller
 St. Helena, CA
Finance
 Tasting Room Associate
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Area Manager Ar, Ks, M...
 Little Rock, AR
Sales and Marketing
 Provincial Sales Manag...
 Vancouver, BC
Sales and Marketing
 Accountant / Bookkeepe...
 Sonoma & Napa, CA
Finance
 Winemaker
 Zillah, WA
Winemaking and Production
 2014 Harvest Intern
 Sonoma, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Tasting Room Personnel
 Gilroy, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Assistant Winemaker
 Walla Walla, WA
Winemaking and Production
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.