The 2013 Harvest in Oregon

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According to NPR, September was the wettest September since they started recording the rainfall in Oregon.

It seemed that 2013 was going to be just like 2012 with Winemakers predicting harvest would take place two weeks earlier than 2012 given the unseasonably dry spring and warm summer. However as the smaller bunches started to mature and was almost ready to pick, there was a large amount of humidity and eventually rain that hit in the last few weeks of September. This lead to many wineries picking early to avoid the onslaught of rain that drenched the state the last week of September. However, for some wineries, the fruit just wasn’t ready and let it hang longer.20131012-161235.jpg

As a winemaker, you run many risks in doing this but you may win the battle against mother nature if you know just when to pick. Picking after the rains meant you obtained more ripeness but ran the risk of botrytis, berry burst or worse, berry rot. For the lucky ones this meant losing 1-5% of the affected crop, for others this meant losing the entire crop. I’ve know of a few who scrapped the entire lot as it just wasn’t up to the standards they needed and didn’t harvest this year.

With a dry spring, the berries were already quite small in development, the warm summer was ideal to ripen these small clusters, and it would have been an ideal harvest for all of Oregon, had it remained dry. It didn’t and many winemakers made different calls leading to what you would call an interesting vintage with a number of variations. Some call it one of the rainiest and most difficult vintages they’ve ever seen. With that said, Oregonians have never been the ones to let that stop them.

Overall, it should make for an all around interesting 2013 vintage.