Walla Walla growers and wine makers are enthusiastic about the 2010 vintage despite some unusually mild summer temperatures. The month of June was one of the coldest ever experienced in the Walla Walla Valley, delaying bloom by approximately three weeks. However, this early predictor of a short season allowed growers to adjust their crop load and management practices to hasten maturity. As a result, most grapes are now estimated to be only 3-5 days behind with fruit showing excellent flavor development.
According to Jay DeWitt who manages Minnick Hills Vineyard, “It is a light crop. The berry size is smaller than normal and the clusters more open. I am encouraged that flavor development is well ahead of normal. I think this will allow us to make wines with better balance. In most vintages we have to wait until after the optimum sugar and acid levels have past because we want more mature flavors. That won’t be the case this year. We are going to produce some very dense, impeccably balanced wines. ”
Jean-Francois Pellet of Pepper Bridge Winery added, “Since September 1st, the weather has been nearly ideal. temperatures and humidity have been in the optimum range for ripening our grape varieties; and as was the case during 2007, there has been a little rain to wash off the leaves and the grapes. This will enhance photosynthesis for the final ripening period. I am very excited about the 2010 vintage.”