Back in August we posted a mid season update on how Oregon’s 2010 vintage was shaping up. At that point, the vintage was definitely cold and behind schedule. Now that the 2010 harvest is over we are taking another look at how things shaped up.
So how did things turn out? That is a matter of perspective, just ask Les Garagistes. Because the weather was so cold all year, many growers had been dropping fruit to ensure that what they did have was fully ripe. What they didn’t count on was the birds. Numerous wineries and writers have related it to the famous Hitchcock movie. Harvest yields vary in Oregon, but about 2.5 tons per acre is often considered normal. Hot years like 2006 and 2009 yield a bit more while cold years like 2007 a bit less. Many of the wineries I have spoken to came in around 1.5 tons per acre this year. Some, including Scott Paul, were less than a ton per acre. Karl Klooster has a great post over at the Oregon Wine Press taking a look at the entire state.
I have included updated growing degree day charts below. What the charts down show is the when and how much rainfall we had. It also doesn’t show when harvest actually occurred. Most of harvest occurred in about a one week period towards the end of October. It was a mad rush to bring in fruit this year, and a bit later than normal.
Final Historical Comparison
My Final Thoughts
I often tell customers that I liked the 2007 vintage, despite all of the bad press. There were several Pinot’s in 2007 that I did not like. It was a difficult vintage both in the vineyard and for winemakers. However, those that got things right made some great wines. To me it really helped to showcase how a winery handles the challenge. I did find a some Pinots that I did like. And for those producers their 2008′s are even more amazing, but the 2007′s are still enjoyable. I will be drinking them as I wait for my 2008′s to mature in the cellar. I expect 2010 to be similar in style, but a bit higher quality on average. The quantity of wine produced will be down significantly. The quality at some sites may show some issues, but there will again be some great wines. Many people will likely complain about the lack of in your face fruit that you would find in a vintage like 2009 or 2006. They will also be a bit lower in alcohol. I say find a couple of great producers and wait a couple of years, you may just be surprised by some of the wines you find.