2022 is painting to be, once again, a very interesting year for our vineyards. After a slightly wetter winter in eastern Washington because of La Niña (the colder counterpart to El Niño), we saw periods of snow and very low temperatures in mid-April resulting in some minor damage in less cold hardy and early bud break varieties. On top of that, the weather this year has been cooler than the past 10 vintages thus far, only slightly warmer than 2011.
Because of that, we are just starting to see bloom in some of our blocks, but with warmer weather ahead, vines should be able to catch up and move on to the next phenological stage. It is still too early to judge how this vintage will be, but if it does continue a similar pattern to 2011, we might need to get creative ripening late varieties, and we’ll see low alcohol wines with great acidity, which is a breath of fresh air after dealing with two of the hottest years on record, 2020 and 2021. As grapevine growers, these are challenging times, but they allow us to better understand our vineyards and overall terroir and how vines adapt to abrupt weather fluctuations that seem to be becoming more common.
At the moment, crews are cleaning trunks and about to finish shoot thinning, which is the first canopy management practice to regulate the canopy/fruit ratio and decrease congestion in order to promote air flow and sun exposure. Now that bloom has begun, we're looking forward to the next stage of the grape vine life cycle - fruit set - when each tiny bloom has the potential to become a single berry.