Washington AVAs 2012 Growing Degree Days Total

The 2012 wine-grape growing season is, for all intents and purposes, complete after near-ideal growing conditions for the vintage. We’re talking small berry size (similar to a wine blogger’s gonads) but in this case, that’s a good thing as cabernets will show like a cabernet in the glass instead of a pinot noir.

Oddly, there were a few AVAs that still experienced a cooler-than-average growing year, in the same mode that Reagan Dunn “overspent” his office budget. The variation was minimal for these AVAs: Red Mountain, Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills, Yakima Valley (Prosser), and Puget Sound.

We have crowned a new “King Heat” in the Columbia Gorge AVA (eastern side), sizzling in at 3037 GDD, narrowly edging perennial scorcher Red Mountain by a mere 29 GDD.

The old geezers are calling this a great vintage year, on par with 2006. Notice, they didn’t say 2005 or 2007, which are the consensus top two vintages for the new millenium, which is essentially “for all-time.” But, don’t get it wrong, 2006 was a fabulous year and still very underappreciated by wine snogs.

So, here’s the early line on the 2012s.

Strengths: reds. whites. pinks. Red Mountain returns to its classic form, instead of tasting like a Rattlesnake Hills wine. Cabernet franc should be the most outstanding, based on early returns.

Weaknesses: cabernet from Naches Heights, anything from Puget Sound (again), whites, and feminine syrahs. For those who subscribe to the “cooler weather brings out the unique personalities of the vineyard” diatribe, this isn’t the year for you unless you can find it from the two previously mentioned AVAs.

Note to the wine geeks: Ancient Lakes AVA will be recognized on November 19, 2012 as the 13th Washington AVA, so as of right now, it is NOT a federally-recognized Washington AVA, but will be included in next year’s statistics.

AVA (station)                               AGDD50(long term avg.)   (2012)     (2011)   2012 rain

Red Mountain (Benton City)         3110                                     3008         2715          6.7 in.

Wahluke Slope (Mattawa)             3009                                     2982         2680        3.3

Horse Heaven Hills (Paterson)     2982                                    2989          2662        6.7

Columbia Gorge (Mary Hill)          2875                                    3037           2674        5.9

Rattlesnake Hills (Outlook)           2827                                    2990          2545         4.6

Walla Walla Valley (W.W.)            2769                                    2840          2562        17.4

Lake Chelan (Chelan South)         2682                                    2893           2457        8.7

Yakima Valley (IAREC)                 2628                                    2643            2312        7.0

Snipes Mountain                            2493                                     2604            2255       4.5

Naches Heights                               2158                                     2385             2041       6.8

Puget Sound (Mt. Vernon)           1562                                      1426             1393     25.6

–info from WSU V&E (posted Nov. 5, 2012)

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2 Responses to Washington AVAs 2012 Growing Degree Days Total

  1. Chris says:

    Hate to tell you this, o wise one, but Prosser isn’t an AVA.

  2. wawineman says:

    So you ARE reading this!
    Thanks for the clarification… fixed.

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