Bottling last year’s vintage while making this one…

For the past 10 days, I’ve been hauling fruit from picking crews in six of our seven Willamette Valley AVAs and it’s all coming in beautiful. Dry warm weather conditions throughout the growing season have put the industry ahead of schedule by at least two weeks. This has been both a blessing and a curse for some local wineries.

Many area winemakers plan their bottling schedule only a few weeks before they plan on picking the first fruit of the season. Since the vintage has come early this year, these same winemakers have found themselves scrambling to bottle last year’s vintage while processing the fruit for this year’s wine. It’s a logistical nightmare. A lot of winery harvest crews are getting their mettle tested. They can handle it. It simply boils down to some very late nights and some even earlier mornings.

The upside to this challenge is that the 2014 winery crew gets to be part of a team that both bottles last year’s vintage and makes this year’s wine. This year could be considered very good to excellent by many experts’ standards. Truth be told, we’ve really only just begun and it’s very difficult to make those claims

this early in the game – especially while there is still a considerable amount of fruit hanging on the vines.

It finally decided to pour down an inch of rain in the Valley last night. While we all take pause to wait out the rains, wineries will have some reprieve to finish up bottling their 2013s.

Anything truly worth doing shouldn’t be easy…or else everyone would be doing it.

Through the warm sunshine and bone-chilling rains, the vineyard and winery crews are out there making it happen, sometimes even without dinner. My dusty hat is off to all the people who pull together from all over the world to make something like a vintage in Oregon happen.