2018 Vintage Wrap Up from Alex Sokol Blosser
As I sat in my comfy chair, looking out on a cold, wet Thanksgiving Day, I thought back upon the growing season that was and have these thoughts……..
The spring was warm and fairly dry. How warm? Well April/May/June was warmer than in 2017 and was warmer than the 10 year average for that time period. Maybe not the warmest spring, but a spring that got things moving along quickly. Bud break happened in mid-April which is normal and was when the vines started in 2017, but that warm spring progressed the vine growth so we had bloom about a week earlier than 2017. Bloom in early June can be a treacherous undertaking as the spring weather can mess up a healthy flowering. A giant hail storm did descend on the Dundee Hills in early June and ruined some of the crop in our Thistle Vineyard, but not at our Sokol Blosser estate. A more typical bloom time of late June usually allows the inclement weather to miss us. O well. This is farming so we take what Mother Nature gives us.
The summer started like one giant furnace on July 5th. We did get our typical July 4th rain which lets us know that we are in Oregon and to light the fireworks quickly. July was a hot month and we had a lot of above 90 degree days. Just when it seemed like the warm spring and the hot July would not stop, August came and the weather moderated. We actually had a normal August in which it was not warmer or cooler than the 10 year average. It was super dry, but not as hot as July. This helped slow the ripening train down, and then we got to September. Thank you September! September was not only cooler than in 2017 but it was cooler than the 10 year average. This was fantastic!! It allowed us to let the grapes hang longer so we got the fruit riper without the sugar accumulation going crazy with super-hot days. In fact, our first day of bringing in fruit (sparkling base wine) was Wednesday, September 5th. It was 88F that day. On the first day of harvest in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017 it was almost 100F. Wow is right!!
Our first Pinot Noir came in on Saturday, September 15th with our Peach Tree Block and our last block of Pinot Noir was from our coolest Pinot Noir site at Blossom Ridge on Saturday, September 29th. The color of all the blocks that came in was fantastic. The extra hang time was fantastic and the wine chemistry was super exciting too with the high acids, moderate pH, and plenty of flavor. The 2018 vintage is our coolest growing season since 2012 and I predict will be our best vintage as well since that year. Get ready for some really special wines from the 2018 harvest! Thank you Mother Nature!!!!
~Alex Sokol Blosser
Winemaker, Co-President, and Second Generation Winegrower
Photo Credit: Phong Nguyen