From Dan Rinke, Winegrower at Johan Vineyards in the Willamette Valley:
2013, boy what a ride. The season started early with bud break on April 12th. That’s about 2–3 weeks earlier than what I’m used to seeing. Bloom was about a week and a half to two weeks earlier than normal. We had a little rain during bloom, but the rest of the summer was incredible. Mid to upper 80’s with maybe 10 days into the 90’s, and no 100 degree days. So it was hot without having excessive heat spikes. And right as things started to get ripe, and we started to pick, we got some rain and the weather cooled off.
The result is great flavor development with lower brix and higher acid – exactly the type of wines we are trying to make at Johan Vineyards. The rains have been causing some problems with rot in the Northern Willamette Valley, but for vineyards south of McMinnville, with cooler climates and cooler higher elevation sites, they are looking at some high quality fruit.
We are about half way in right now, and our best stuff is yet to come. Yields are just slightly lower, due to the little bit of rain at bloom, but that helps keep the quality up. We are really excited about our Pinot Noir – this vintage is going to give us some beautiful, delicious and pretty wines.
As a side note – we sell about 70% of our fruit, and I was walking the rows with one of our customers. He said “once again, organically grown grapes look cleaner and better than the conventionally grown fruit I’m buying. This fruit is amazingly clean compared to what I’ve been seeing.”