2012 Vintage – A Near Perfect Growing Season for Walla Walla Valley Vintners
The consensus among Walla Walla Valley winemakers is that this will be a vintage to remember. According to Duane Wollmuth, executive director, Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, “nearly every winemaker I have talked to has said the temperatures and extended lack of rainfall have created near perfect conditions for producing wine grapes. We had three months without rain and plenty of warm temperatures. These summertime conditions, and the normal cool down in September and October have produced small berry size, well ripened fruit, and good acidity.”
Growing Degree Days (GDD), a measure of average daily temperatures over 50 degrees Fahrenheit, were at 2,805 in the Walla Walla Valley as of October 21. Normal GDDs in the Valley through October 31 are usually 2,844. The 2012 GDDs figure is up several hundred from those in 2010 and 2011.
Not only did the year’s growing conditions produce exceptional grape quality, but quantities were up as well. A survey of Walla Walla Vintners found that wineries on average processed two to three times more than they had in 2011. Even though much of the increase in 2012 can be attributed to less than ideal growing conditions in 2010 and 2011, winemakers noted that they crushed even more grapes in 2012 than they had projected just several months ago. According to Wollmuth, “this will create a rare opportunity for our wineries to meet more of the ever increasing demand for the high quality wines our Valley has become known for. Of course, we all know that the 2012 vintage wines are still dependent upon what our winemakers in the Valley do with these great grapes. I am confident, however, that given their track record for producing great wines, our winemakers will make the most of the high quality grapes grown this year.”
The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance is a non-profit wine industry membership organization whose primary mission is the marketing of the Walla Walla Valley’s American Viticultural Area (AVA). The Wine Alliance functions as the leading informational resource for consumers, media and trade interested in learning more about the Valley’s wine industry. More information about the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance can be found at www.wallawallawine.com.