Back in 2011 I was dreaming about a vintage like this, a vintage that started early, was warm and harvest took place under warm, dry conditions. A vintage just like they have in California. In 2011 we harvested almost all of the vineyard in one day on November 1st. This year we began harvest on September 15th, the earliest ever. It must be global warming.
But what about 2010 and 2011 when harvest was pushed to the end of October and the beginning of November respectively? What extremes we have here in Oregon and in each desparate year we have managed to make some very good wine. Is there any more interesting place to make wine in America than the Northern Willamette Valley? I’m not so sure but the vintage variation in Oregon is something unique to American wine and something that should be embraced by wine lovers everywhere. In a sea of homogeneous wine you could argue the Northern Willamette Valley sticks out as a beacon for individuality in wine. Couple that with the amazing amount of single vineyard, terroir driven wines in this part of the world and I think you have an argument for this being on par with the most recognized wine growing areas in the world.
What will the 2014 vintage bring? I think very fruit forward, moderate aging wines. What I don’t know is what kind of depth they will have. In warm vintages there is a possibility of sacrificing depth because we can’t let grapes hang as long as we would like, at least not until 16% alcohol wines come in vogue. The proof will be in the pudding when we start tasting the finished wines at the beginning of next year. But there is no doubt our wines will be closer to California than Burgundy this year.