2019 Yakima Valley Harvest Update – A Year of Contrasts

The 2019 winter started out with a mild December and January that abruptly changed in early February when snow began to fall. Throughout the month of February and into early March, it snowed twice a week, accumulating two feet of snow with many places much deeper due to drifting.

Despite staying cold enough to retain snow, there were no record low temperatures and vines over-wintered in good shape.

March saw gradual warming, allowing snow to melt slowly and penetrate into the ground without runoff or flooding. April was free of frost and with moderate daytime temperatures, vines budded out about a week late. May turned out unusually warm. By the end of the month vines were in bloom about 10 days ahead of normal. During that time, it was looking like another 2015 vintage, the warmest on record.

Just when it looked like an early harvest, July and August saw more moderate temperatures that pushed veraison, the start of ripening, back to a near normal time of mid-August. As of mid to late August it looks as if the season will be slightly warmer than average and harvest will begin full swing around the second week of September.

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