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Spring 2020 was about average, with bud break coming a little early in most blocks at Alexana. However, as spring gave way to summer, May and June were significantly cooler and wetter than average.
Long, cool, steady rains in June came during bloom which translated into small, loose clusters, ripening all summer. Then, in late summer, we started to catch up on heat units, with September and October warmer than usual.
Over the Labor Day weekend, an extreme weather event caused wildfires that swept through a historic number of acres of Oregon forests. Luckily at Alexana, harvest was already well underway, and we hurried to wrap up the harvest of the last blocks before the smoke settled down into the hills.
We ended the year at 2,369 Growing Degree Days, which is similar to 2013 or 2018. The crop was small, on par with 2012, or even smaller. Still, the small clusters and berries were very concentrated, making for some outstanding flavorful wines with moderate to low alcohols and vibrant acidity.
Growing season info coming soon...
Growing season info coming soon...
The year started with a relatively cool and wet spring compared to the last few years. As a result, bud break started closer to average in mid-April. The spring warmed up with record heat in late May that initiated flowering. However, a cool down in early June slowed flowering through the second and third week of the month, followed by a few days of record high temperatures. Overall, flowering was complete and produced an excellent fruit set.
July ramped up the heat, moving the vintage rapidly to véraison. However, August saw multiple one-day records for maximum daytime temperatures with heat stress events early and late in the month.
A warm early September accelerated fruit development but was slowed by a cool down mid-month. Feeling that the harvest would be fast and furious, our team breathed a sigh of relief with the cooler conditions and proceeded to have a slow and steady harvest. The result was near average to slightly higher than average sugar and acid levels with exquisite flavors and well-balanced fruit.
Similar to the last two vintages, the 2016 growing season continued to push the envelope for defining the new normal in the Willamette Valley as one of the earliest on record. An unusually warm spring gave way to moderate summer conditions, which provided even growing conditions through véraison. Though it was an intense growing season due to the early start, the fruit produced resulted in remarkable concentration and complexity with characteristic natural acidity.
Bud break kicked off the vintage two to four weeks earlier than average. A short heat spell at bloom condensed the flowering period, resulting in a smaller fruit set. Summer provided average conditions with fewer heat spikes than the 2014 or 2015 vintages, which led to smaller berry size and a higher concentration of flavors. In August, warmer than usual conditions shepherded along with the early vintage, and harvest started in early September.
The 2016 vintage saw practically immaculate fruit with few signs of disease, pest, or bird effects. Producing stunning wines with depth, concentration, and ripeness.
Once again, another extraordinary, nearly ideal growing season! The 2015 vintage began with warm weather conditions in the winter that continued throughout spring and summer. Yet, light scattered showers in late August and a return to normalcy in September gave a break to what was an intense growing season. The result was concentrated, balanced fruit throughout the state.
The 2015 vintage started with bud break in March, two to three weeks. The early trend continued with higher-than-normal temperatures through spring, which created exceptional bloom, flower, and fruit set conditions. As spring gave way to summer, conditions continued to be warmer than usual, and consequentially grape clusters were far larger than typical. Finally, September gave way to standard weather patterns, and harvest started around the first of September, making 2015 one of the earliest harvests on record.
The growing conditions from bud break through harvest paved the way for virtually pristine fruit with minimal signs of disease and no fear of pest or bird effects. This paved the way for powerful, structured, and beautifully texturally rich wines.
The 2014 vintage in Oregon may be remembered as the vintage of a lifetime. We experienced an almost ideal growing season from bud break through harvest that delivered a record amount of exceptional, balanced fruit.
The vintage’s milestones averaged two weeks early from bud break through harvest. Growing conditions were mostly dry and warmer than average throughout the spring, providing a great flowering and fruit set environment. The result was large clusters that ripened evenly throughout the warm, dry summer. The 2014 vintage broke the previous record for heat accumulation during the growing season, set in 2006. This record was broken not by the daytime highs but rather the overnight lows being higher than average for most of the year. This allowed the grapes to continue ripening through véraison without putting heat stress on the vines.
Harvest began around Sept. 12, roughly two weeks earlier than expected. Conditions remained dry primarily through September, with some rain at the end of the month. However, this year's rains were viewed as more of a nuisance than an actual problem or challenge and ultimately helped reduce pH levels and lower the rapidly rising sugar accumulation. As a result, our team was able to harvest fruit in almost pristine conditions with no signs of disease and minimal fear of pest or bird effects. The resulting Pinot Noir we crafted was lovely, ripe, rich, deeply concentrated, and aromatic.
The vintage began warmer than usual, with early bud break across most of the state’s wine-growing regions, leading to a long, warm summer. That was followed by the jarring interruption of the late September rain with a final redemption of more dry and warm weather through October. Some believe that this high drama also brought inspiration in the form of creative vineyard management and virtuoso winemaking.
The 2013 harvest began on a high note in September, with harvest starting early in the month and underway by the middle of the month. It was the earliest start to harvest in many years. By the time the rain arrived, over 70% of our estate vineyard had already been harvested.
Thankfully, the rains gave way to an extended warm and dry period that lasted the entire month of October and allowed us to resume harvesting the remaining 30% of our fruit.
Vintage info is coming soon...
Growing season info is coming soon...
An Indian summer that began in early October and lingered through month’s end created optimal conditions for advancing ripening of smaller-sized grape clusters and delivering balanced fruit with full flavor development and lower Brix levels, great acidity, and lower alcohol levels.
The warm, dry harvest conditions bookended a growing season that began with a relatively dry and warm winter highlighted by the warmest January and February on record in most locations. What followed was a cool Spring and early Summer timeframe (April – June).
Yields were lower than in typical years due to early-season weather conditions and crop thinning near the season’s end. However, the lower yields delivered high-quality fruit, with characteristics of full phenolic ripeness, concentrated flavors, and balance.
Growing season info is coming soon...
The growing season started a touch late, with bud break about 10 days behind schedule, followed by a cool growing season and harvest that extended through the end of October.
Small berry clusters left to hang on the vine throughout the extended warm spell in October achieved optimal maturity, with full ripeness, and exhibit intensely concentrated color and flavors. With 20% lower yields but fully ripe, high-quality fruit, 2008 is a harvest that produced extraordinary benchmark wines for the Willamette Valley and is one of Oregon’s most highly touted vintages.
The growing season started strong, with a slightly warmer spring than average that provided ideal conditions for fruit set throughout the state. Moderate temperatures persisted during the summer, with no significant heat spikes, leading to nearly perfect fruit maturation going into late September until significant rain events began and didn’t let up until late October.
Careful crop load management allowed the fruit to ripen, despite the cool temperatures. Then, meticulous vineyard management practices enabled the vines and grapes to produce age-worthy wines elegantly textured with balanced acidity.
A warm and dry growing season with little precipitation and no disease pressure resulted in a harvest that wine grape growers and winemakers throughout Oregon say is a rare combination of robust yields and excellent quality.
Thanks to favorable weather at bloom and an extended warm growing season with no weather pressures. Fruit set was ideal with a mild Spring and the months that followed were warm and dry, with short-lived heat spikes in June and September, advancing fruit ripeness.
Continued warmth in September and October, despite intermittent cooling rains, resulted in a compressed harvest.
Increased yields brought average tonnage throughout the Valley back to historical levels and beyond. Advanced ripeness produced higher sugars and moderate acids but also concentrated flavors and balance.