It's taken longer than I'd hoped to sit down to recount this past harvest, which for me wrapped up last Saturday, October 12. In a normal year, that would be early to be done bringing in grapes. To be completely finished with harvest, with all the new wine in barrel or tank, by October 12? That's crazy.
Such was/is the harvest of 2013 in the Willamette Valley.
My story is unusual this year. I picked virtually all my fruit between September 17 and 20, in ideal conditions. Many wineries were bringing in some fruit at that time but hardly everything, and many others didn't pick a thing until late September, after several days of occasionally heavy rain.
Somehow the vineyards I work with, even in the cooler Eola Hills, were ready before the rain. And not just sort of ready. The flavors were just where I want them, the sugar and acids too. After the very warm summer, I never thought we'd be harvesting grapes with such freshness and life. I was super happy with things at picking, and only happier (though a bit sheepish) as the rains fell. Many vineyards stood up fine through the rains, but not all. Some growers had it really tough. I certainly am not happy for anyone's struggle.
I just lucked out. My grapes came in all at once, they didn't require much sorting, fementations took off naturally after just a few days, and things progressed largely without any issues. I could bore you with a few things - the fruit flies this year were horrible - but really things proceeded well and the wines I have in barrel are terribly exciting to me. They still have a long way to go until they'll be ready, but some things you just know, and I'm feeling pretty good about the '13s.