To better understand the growing season in a particular area, I’m creating simple infographics for specific years. These easy-to-read charts show the high and low temperatures during the growing season, as well as events that may have affected the grapes during different growth phases. All of these factors contribute to the vintage as a whole. Understanding what happened during the lifecycle of a grape can help you better select your next bottle of wine.
If you haven’t yet read the Winerabble Wine 101: Vintage at a glance infographics article, I encourage you to do so. In it, I explain some foundational basics, including the different grape growing phases and what can affect them, both positively and negatively.
After five years of warm vintages, the 2019 growing season was cooler than average, a return to what used to be regular temperatures during a Willamette Valley summer. However, a copious amount of summer rains and humidity increased disease pressure… and no one wants moldy grapes! Then, near harvest, more rain and a significant temperature drop forced picking decisions based on weather, rather than ripeness.
They say that anyone can make decent wine from the easier, warmer years– but the cooler ones with challenges, that’s when winemakers are put to the test. Those who have worked through difficult years have experience that newer winemakers don’t yet possess. Experienced winemakers know “how to make lemonade from lemons.” The wines from these vintages are the ones I’m most drawn to… and frankly, covet!