Friday, September 10, 2021
Fall in the air! And it’s that time of year where we turn our attention to making lots more amazing wines at Airfield! This year has been another “unique” year for all of us, but we have many positives things to say about 2021 when it comes to the wines that we will create this harvest.
It has been one of the warmest vintages for Washington State, and as a result, we are seeing some amazing developments in our vineyards. In the Yakima Valley, we are typically behind most of Washington in terms of starting harvest, but not 2021. With the hot summer, we saw veraison in late July, and the grapes have been rapidly maturing since. So far, we have already processed over 275 tons with much more planned for the following weeks. This was a record start for us.
We are seeing some amazing flavors this year, and our fermentations of Sauvignon Blanc are creating some of the best Sauvignon Blanc wines we have ever made at Airfield. With the extreme heat we saw in early summer and pretty much lasting until the end of August, we are seeing smaller berry sizes. The downside to smaller berries means a smaller crop size, but the flavors that the smaller berries produce are fantastic. I am very excited to see these small grapes evolve into a beautiful, world class wines.
Once again, the Yakima Valley has experienced some smoke saturation periods from distant wildfires, but the smoke has been more of a nuisance than a harm to the grapes, and we are very optimistic it will remain that way.
We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of another new concrete tank! This will give us a total 3 amazing concrete tanks, and I have some great plans in store for these beautiful tanks this harvest. We are currently fermenting about 2,000 gallons of Sauvignon Blanc in concrete with hopes to create a reserve style for our Tasting rooms.
The grapes that go into our Reserve Syrah and Founders Series Michael Miller blend are very close to being mature and ready to harvest. These wines begin their amazing journey in concrete as well. I’m very excited about our Rhone program this year as the flavors will be some the juiciest, dark fruit profiles I’ve seen yet.
Our Bordeaux varietals are maturing quite nicely, with Merlot grapes ready to harvest any time. With the Merlot, we are seeing beautiful flavors, balanced acidity, and velvet like structure. Our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and other varietals that we typically don’t see maturation until late October are already on pace to ripen much earlier than anything we’ve seen in the past.
This 2021 Harvest Season is just beginning, and we are well prepared for any challenge this vintage wants to throw at us, we hope to produce as much as 1,700 tons this vintage, so the next 10 weeks are going to be extremely busy!
Happy Fall & Cheers!
Travis Maple, Winemaker