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Hot Hot Hot!

As I write, we're at the beginning of a string of what looks to be 10 or more straight days of 95-degrees+ here in the Willamette Valley - and we've already had a dozen or more scorchers like that this season. Historically there have been no more than seven days per year of 90 degrees or higher here - this may end up being hotter than 2003 when all is said and done.

We're not alone - it's a hot one in Burgundy and Champagne too this year. Burgundy has been an absolute blast furnace, with lots of days over 100 degrees, and a reading of a mind-blowing 116 recorded one day in Gevrey-Chambertin! It's been a bit cooler in Champagne, though it would be more accurate to say "less hot". 

Oregon Pinot holding up nicely in the heat - July '15

Oregon Pinot holding up nicely in the heat - July '15

When the thermometer hits 95+, the vines go into shut-down mode, and no forward progress actually happens during these intense periods of heat. In that respect, it's a good thing, as it slows down the cycle a bit. All three regions - Oregon, Burgundy and Champagne - were heading for very early harvest dates this year, and will all likely still be early, but not as dramatically so as it was looking a month or two ago. Oregon and Burgundy are looking at perhaps the 1st or 2nd week in September, with Champagne just a bit behind them.

All three regions are experiencing very similar issues - the grapes are small, and will have very little juice. The concentration and flavors should be very good, but the goal will be to carefully manage extraction so the wines do not get too big, too heavy, and to pick at a point when there is still good acidity to balance the fruit. We still have 5-6+ weeks to go, of course, and everything could change dramatically. Everyone is hoping for a cooler August, and a little rain would be welcome as well. Unfortunately, we don't get to order what we want - it's like a restaurant that just serves up whatever it wants to. Enjoy your meal!