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2018 Harvest Recap

Winemaker, Peter Cushman

Vintage Overview: A ‘classic’ spring and early summer were much appreciated. The weather was relatively uneventful through this important time. Some isolated cold and rain events kept yields a little variable across the region (some crops were below average, some were above) due to their timing with budbreak, but in general the spring and early summer were ‘normal.’

Normal in the gorge is a good thing!  The 2018 vintage turned in to a real stunner by the end of the moderate summer. September came around with high daytime temperatures, but with a large drop in temperature overnight… cool nights really helped push flavor development without increasing brix too much. This trend continued well in to October, becoming a ‘let it hang’ sort of vintage; where leaving grapes on the vine until the bitter end seemed to produce the best results.

Production Overview: Despite the challenges of a condensed harvest (we picked and processed more fruit, in less time, than last year), the vintage remained excellent in the cellar. This being my second vintage at Jacob Williams, winemaking felt more natural. I am comfortable with the equipment and space, and with a year of trials from new vineyards to reference (from 2017) winemaking was more focused, expressive, and artful.  

Particularly exciting wines from this year included a journey to the Walla Walla AVA to source Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as the addition of (and my first time working with) Semillon.  This white variety, famous as the primary grape in white Bordeaux wines, has caught my attention several times in the past as an interesting (and delicious) barrel-fermented white wine. The cabernet shows promise in the cellar, certainly becoming a favorite for barrel sampling. Hi Valley (The Dalles) came through with another great vintage of Syrah and Merlot as well. The addition of a delicious new rosé wine, using Cabernet Franc grapes, will likely be the first 2018 wine we get the chance to share in the tasting room this spring.  

Harvest Began: 9/13 with Sauvignon Blanc from Garnier Vineyard– 9 days ahead of 2017.

Harvest Ended: 10/25 with Merlot from Hi Valley Vineyard.

Total Tons: 57 (about 3400 cases, 40,800 bottles)

Barrel Lots: 16

Varieties:  Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot

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