Shrewd winemakers will always tell customers it’s a good year. But behind the scenes, Northwest winemakers are feeling tense about this year’s harvest.
That’s because harvest is late. So late, that it might freeze before all the grapes are mature.
In Oregon’s Willamette Valley winemakers say they are 14 days later than usual.
On Red Mountain in Central Washington growers say they are a 10 days late.
Why all the fuss over a few days? After it freezes or gets cold, grapes won’t mature any further. Some winemakers are cutting down expensive grapes just to see if they can make the other ones ripen quicker.
Winery owner Kelly Hightower is trying to remain calm.
Kelly Hightower: “You know what I think it’s either going to be short and torturous, or long and torturous, but I think either way this harvest is going to be torture.”
Hightower says instead of bold, powerful wines, 2010’s harvest is likely to yield more Old World-styled wines with less alcohol.