The sun is out and temperatures are rising, flowers are blooming and spring once again comes early to the Willamette Valley. The vines are developing already with signs of bud break, about 3 weeks ahead of average. Coming off 2015, one of the warmest years on record, and following a warm winter, an early spring seems to be the norm for awhile. The vineyards are pruned and waiting for the 2016 crop to start; the 2015 red wine is tucked away in barrels and the whites will soon be bottled.
The wines from 2014 and 2015 remind me a lot of the wines a decade ago. 2014 wines are ripe and clean with elegant fruit flavors — much like the 2004 wines were. 2015 wines are also ripe, with a bit more concentration of color and flavors — much like the wines in 2005. If the trend continues, will 2016 be as warm as 2006? 2006 was a very warm year in the Willamette Valley with temperatures rising close to 100 degrees at harvest. The harvest was rushed as we worked to avoid overripe berries. Here is to hoping this 10 year trend breaks in 2016 and summer temperatures are more like 2014 and 2015 than 2006.