The 2013 Vintage will be remembered for its weather extremes:  consistently warmer than any growing season in memory from the beginning until mid-September; and, concentratedly wet for a ten-day period, partly due to remnants of a Japanese typhoon ferried into the Northwest by what one weather expert called an “atmospheric river of moisture,” a 30-year event!  Fruit that was ripe and almost ready to pick was in jeopardy, so most tried to get that off, especially in growing regions that have a tendency to foster botrytis, a late-season mold that accelerates fruit deterioration.  Fruit that needed a week or two more ripening and was in exposed, breezy areas like Ribbon Ridge didn’t even notice the rain.

And there WAS some rain.  My geeking on weather data centers on the McMinnville airport, for which we have 100 years plus data sets.  Between the eleven days of September 22nd to October 2nd, there were 5.34 inches of rain recorded, over 3 inches of that on two days, September 27th and 28th. We commenced picking Stoller and Corral Creek Vineyards on September 19th, a good ten days earlier than normal, and continued until the rain delay days of the 27th-29th.

Picking resumed the 1st of October at Stoller and 3rd at Corral Creek, completing Stoller October 5th.  Sunny 70ish degree weather returned October 5th.  Ribbon Ridge vineyards, Ridgecrest and Wind Ridge, welcomed pickers on October 5th and 7th, respectively, with excellent quality fruit and full ripeness.

Although a rain brush-by is expected on Monday the 7th it will not be noticed, as we pick blocks systematically as they turn ripe. We should be totally picked-out by Friday, October 11th.

Sorry for the detail here—partly for me, as memory fails!  See the summary under “Weather and Its Implications” and see graphs and tables on this page.

Fond regards,

Weather and Its Implications

SUMMARY: Part 1—very warm summer followed by an early harvest; Part 2—extraordinary 30-year rain event in-between picking early ripening blocks (very sound, nice quality) and higher-elevation later ripening blocks (very sound, nigh-unto perfect quality). Results to come.