Washington AVAs 2011 Growing Degree Days Total

The 2011 wine-grape growing season is officially over with after another late-surge of warmth to salvage an otherwise “cool” vintage year.

2011 started off a couple weeks late and lagged even last year’s cool run through the summer until the first (and really only) heatwave struck in September to briefly catch up to 2010’s numbers before falling back a couple lengths to the finish line. Although the numbers are lower than last year, the late arrival (and prolonged stay) of much needed daytime temps in the 90s allowed the grapes to physiologically ripen. I sampled some freshly picked cabernet and syrah and can assuredly tell you readers that this vintage will deliver wines of expected depth and character as well as reward those who choose to cellar for later enjoyment, and without the massive alcohol levels (expect more sub-14s on the shelves).

Deviations from last year include Walla Walla Valley’s surprising 200+ degree gain and Snipes Mountain’s almost 300 degree loss in this drier year. The exception was, of course, the Puget Sound area which had another lethal combination of lack of sun and too much rain.

AVA (station)                               AGDD50(long term avg.)   (2011)     (2010)   2011 rain

Red Mountain (Benton City)         3189                                     2715         2753       3.7 in.

Wahluke Slope (Mattawa)             3057                                     2680         2709      3.3

Horse Heaven Hills (Paterson)     3034                                    2662          2758      5.4

Columbia Gorge (Mary Hill)          2973                                    2674           2702     8.4

Rattlesnake Hills (Outlook)           2891                                    2545          2601       4.5

Walla Walla Valley (W.W.)            2844                                    2562          2325       14.5

Lake Chelan (Chelan South)         2798                                     2457           2547      8.9

Yakima Valley (IAREC)                 2675                                      2312          2325       4.4

Snipes Mountain                            2535                                       2255           2535     3.1

Puget Sound (Mt. Vernon)            1615                                       1393           1407     24.7

–info from WSU V&E (posted Nov. 1, 2011)

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4 Responses to Washington AVAs 2011 Growing Degree Days Total

  1. Damon La Londe says:

    Mr. Wineman the Snipes weather station is not located on Snipes Mountain but north of the highway between Grandview and Sunnyside. Those numbers are not representative of Upland Vineyard as far as I know. Just an FYI. Good article though.


  2. wawineman says:

    Damon, thanks for the clarification!

    The numbers for Snipes Mountain and Walla Walla stood out for being so aberrent from the others. I’ve been to Snipes Mountain and it does make sense that the north side posted that. I bet the south side got at least 200 more heat units… and that’s why (Protip) you always plant on the SOUTH side of a mountain in the Yakima Valley. Made all the difference this year.

    • Damon La Londe says:

      No problem sir. If you go to the agweather site you can click on the station to see it’s exact location. It is about 7 miles east of the Upland Vineyards shop. Location of weather station is on Hahn Hill a stones throw from some of Dick Bousheys Syrah. In a year like this year, I’m thankful I farm on Red Mountain.

  3. wawineman says:

    No question about Red Mountain! Any site that’s not in a frost pocket is guaranteed gold. Any news about Blackwood Canyon’s property? Think I may want to bid on it…

    And thanks for the tip on the agweather site… need to spend more time there.

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