The Heat Continues and the Season Moves Ahead Quickly

stillwater creek vineyard, Washington wine, columbia ValleyVeraison is the beginning of the ripening process and the fact that veraison is underway tells us to expect an early harvest. Once veraison is complete, harvest is about 45 days away on average, depending on variety.  View photos.

When I say the 2015 growing season is early, I’m looking at varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, about 22 days ahead of 2014; and 2014 being an early year, this year’s Sauv Blanc is 41 days ahead of 2011. Chardonnay is looking to be about 14 days ahead on 2014. We’ll wait and see on the rest of the varieties as we are not quite to full veraison.

We have been applying more water than usual this year due to the heat, but must now be very careful not to have too much water in the soil and create shoot growth. As the ripening process begins, we want to direct all carbohydrate production to the fruit and not the vegetative parts on the vine. With the persistent heat this year, we need to balance water to the plants so as not to create excess vigor while at the same time protecting leaves from burning.

Due to the higher temperatures this year, we have been delayed leaf removal to protect the fruit from sunburn. We need to decide how much leaf coverage to leave this year to provide heat protection to the fruit but also to provide enough sun exposure for ripening. It’s a delicate balance. By leaving a little more canopy, we hope to reduce heat stress to the fruit.

To follow veraison by block, click here.