The 2010 harvest is now all finished for Pacific Rim. It was the latest season for us and probably for Washington as a whole. Our last grapes came on November 17th, the latest end of harvest ever for us. Looking back, I think that the cool spring delayed ripening greatly and we never caught up really. Thankfully a good Indian summer allowed us to stir away from a complete disaster – There must be some feary looking over our shoulders. At the end, the fermenting wines are showing great natural acids which will be fine for sweeter Rieslings as the sugar will rebalance things perfectly – we have decided not to make any Dry Riesling this year and focus on the sweeter styles – One has to work with what mother nature gives you.
We have seen large botrytis infections that dried out nicely but it ended up lowering yields dramatically. I expect a 20% drop in yield overall in Washington for mature Riesling vineyards. It is not clear right now if the new Riesling plantings will offset the loss from their older brethren – I suspect the total Riesling harvest to be down 10% overall versus the record 2009 harvest for the State. The botrytis flavors are adding a very nice fourth dimension to the sweet styles and the quality of sweet Rieslings is very high. Several wineries (us included) will make a noble rot infected Riesling this year.
Overall it was a very unusual harvest for Washington that should reward patient and skilled winemakers. It is definitely a vintage that will be made in the cellar.