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Scott Greenberg
August 11, 2020 | Winemaking | Scott Greenberg

Checking Out the Vineyards

On August 4-5, we went over the mountains to check on how the grapes were growing.  Generally, everything is ripening on schedule, with most vineyards starting some level of veraison.  Growing Degree Days (GDD) is tracking about the same as last year, a bit cooler in some areas.  We discovered a great taco truck and stopped on the way back to refuel with tamales.  

What are Growing Degree Days? The following is from WSU: The progression of in-season grapevine development is strongly influenced by air temperature. As such, average heat accumulation is often used to compare regions and vine growing condition. This average heat accumulation is often referred to as Growing Degree Days (GDD). The summation of daily GDD units can be used for a variety of things: comparing one region to another, comparing one season to another, and predicting important stages in vine development (bloom, veraison, and maturity).  GDD units can be calculated in °F or °C.  Washington State University calculates all GDD in °F, with a base temperature for grapes at 50 °F.  Therefore, GDD is the cumulative number of degrees over 50 °F from April 1-October 31.

Through July 31, there were 1,933 growing degree days recorded on the Wahluke Slope. A year ago, it charted 2,023 GDD. During the 2015 vintage, it stood at 2,345 when August began. 

At the Benton City station near Red Mountain, there were 2,073 GDD recorded. A year ago, it read 2,081 GDD. In 2015, there were 2,486 GDD.

On Snipes Mountain in the Yakima Valley, there were 1,960 GDD registered. A year ago, the accumulation stood at 1,961 GDD. During the blistering 2015 season, it was 2,436.

Tacos and Tamales.  Driving between vineyards throughout Eastern Washington and walking our rows of vines is hard work. El Guero Tacos Garcia in West Richland sustained us Tuesday afternoon with tasty pork and chicken tacos, and chicken quesadillas.  There is some seating, but we pretended to be at a Seahawks game and tailgated.  Our drive home on Wednesday included a must stop at the James Beard Award winning Los Hernandez Tamales in Union Gap.  Hurry to get their asparagus tamales before they're out of season, and be sure to pick up frozen tamales to eat at home. As someone said "it takes a lot of Mexican food to make a good wine".   


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