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Willamette Valley Vineyards

Willamette Valley Vineyards
 
October 25, 2019 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

2019 Harvest Update

Harvest started on September 5th with a pick for our sparkling wines. Following a short break to allow further flavor and brix (sugar) development for our still wines, in mid-September, we battled early fall rains finding pockets of sunshine whenever we could to bring in the crop. In the cellar, fermentations are active and our Pinot Noirs are being punched down by hand twice daily to extract color and aromas before being put to rest in barrel. An early look shows that despite the rains, the color is concentrated and there is depth in flavors.

 

The past few vintages, we experienced warmer than average summers; however, 2019 has been a throwback to traditional Oregon summers and falls, with mild steady temperatures and no extreme heat spikes. The accumulated heat units of this vintage are most comparable to the 2018 vintage. The early onset fall rains created a challenging harvest, including condensing the pick times, but our incredible harvest crews timed their picks during the sun breaks giving the grapes just the right amount of time to develop complexity, rich color and concentration of flavors. Our winemakers expect the 2019 vintage to be an excellent representation of a classic Willamette Valley vintage. 

 

But don’t just take our word for it. We popped into our Winemakers’ office and got their feedback on this year’s harvest!
 

Joe Ibrahim - Winemaker

What is your favorite part of harvest? 

I love all of harvest! Leading into harvest, I love the anticipation of new wines and what will come of the new vintage. When I'm in the middle of it, I love the focus, challenges, problem solving and adrenaline. In the end, it's a great feeling to look back on all the hard work and I feel most proud of what we have accomplished working together alongside an amazing, passionate and dedicated team. 


What is the most challenging part of harvest and why?

Every harvest has its own challenges; there are a lot of moving pieces to coordinate while keeping your eye on making world-class wines. We produce several small-lot wines and we make wine from many different varieties from nearly every growing region in the state! 

Was there anything different or notable about this harvest that made it stand out from others you have worked on? 

This fall had amazing weather leading up to harvest. The weather then turned rainy and cold just as the grapes were ripening, which caused us to rush and pick as fast as we could. We all felt the pressure of a compressed harvest window. I'm happy to say we managed to get everything in on time and the wines are looking really fantastic!

Everyone involved in harvest has to adjust to a new schedule. I am so grateful to our amazing team and their families for not just their willingness, but also their excitement to place their normal schedules aside for 4-6 weeks each year and join in the fun of making wines together that we are truly proud to share with everyone.

 

Gabi Prefontaine - Associate Winemaker

What is your favorite part of harvest? 

My favorite part of harvest is visiting the different vineyard sites to decide on picking dates.
 

What is the most challenging part of harvest and why? 

The most challenging part of harvest is when we have used all of our available fermentors, but we have additional fruit ready to come in. It is a game of Tetris on the production pad as receiving fruit timely is important to wine quality.
 

Was there anything different or notable about this harvest that made it stand out from others you have worked on? 

The weather made harvest very challenging as we had to pick the same amount of fruit as the previous year, but had to bring that fruit in over the course of 4 weeks instead of 6 weeks. It was very challenging, but the fruit was ready and our team made it happen.

 

Time Posted: Oct 25, 2019 at 10:00 AM
Founded in 1983 by Oregon native Jim Bernau with the dream of creating world-class Pinot Noir,
Willamette Valley Vineyards has grown from a bold idea into one of the region’s leading wineries, earning the title “One of America’s Great Pinot Noir Producers” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine


 

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