Walla Walla Valley winemakers are calling the 2014 harvest a great success. In a recent post-harvest survey sent to Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance member wineries, more than 96-percent of respondents rated the vintage either above average (38%) or exceptional (59%). Over 90-percent of respondents also reported that grape tonnage per acre harvested was above average.
“In general, winemakers are thrilled with the quality of the grapes this year,” said Duane Wollmuth, Executive Director of the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. “We can’t wait to taste the 2014 wines.”
Most wineries reported that the summer and fall weather was near ideal for grape-growing. One respondent recalled “perfect heat and sunlight in September and October,” while another said “we had the ability to really ripen our fruit and get the flavor characteristics we were looking for.”
While the earliest harvest start date was reported to be August 25th, a majority of wineries reported starting in the first half of September. Harvest was fast and furious for most, with a vast majority finishing up by Halloween. Over half of the respondents felt that one particular variety did better than others, naming Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah as the big winners of the year.
Overall, wineries reported that the 2014 vintage will be known for “perfect heat throughout the season,” “great ripening of all varietals,” “acid retention,” and “big structured wines.”
“(This vintage will be known for) big, ripe expressive reds,” one respondent said. “The wines have structural intensity, color and fruitfulness. I expect this to be a real winner with wine consumers.”