Nurturing Nature: From Bunch Closure to Harvest in The Lake Chelan Valley
Nestled amidst the lush landscapes of Washington State lies the jewel of the Lake Chelan Valley, renowned for its delicious wine grapes and top quality tree fruit (and we’d like to include our amazing pumpkins and flowers). Today, we’d like to take you on a journey through the pivotal stages of our growing season – from the mysterious process of bunch closure through to the much-anticipated harvest. We’ll also pause to appreciate the distinctive allure of our Pinot Noir grapes, which flourish in the unique terroir of the Lake Chelan American Viticultural Area (AVA).
The Crucial Stage of Bunch Closure
Bunch closure marks an important milestone in our grape-growing season. This is when our grape berries swell to the point where they press against each other in the cluster, sealing off the individual grapes. This process, primarily driven by water absorption, initiates a transformative period known as veraison, where the hard, green berries metamorphose into soft, sweet, and vibrantly colored grapes.
2023 Pinot Noir at bunch closure.
The magic of this phase extends beyond the visible, with remarkable internal changes taking place, including the conversion of acids into sugars, the development of aromatic compounds, and changes in skin texture. Each of these modifications brings us one step closer to the coveted harvest.
Veraison – A Symphony of Changes
Following bunch closure, the onset of veraison brings with it a glorious spectacle. The green clusters adopt a spectrum of colors, ranging from deep purple to light green, depending on the varietal. As farmers, we eagerly anticipate this period of rapid change, knowing it signifies the accumulation of sugars and flavors that will ultimately determine the quality and character of our wines.
This stage also calls for our heightened attention and careful management. We protect our precious clusters from pests and diseases, and we moderate the vine’s leaf-to-fruit ratio to ensure the grapes ripen evenly and achieve the ideal balance of sugars and acids.
Veraison just beginning in our 2022 Pinot Noir.
The Harvest – Nature’s Grand Finale
From the first bud break to the final moments of veraison, everything we do is a buildup to the harvest, where the fruits of our labor (quite literally) come to fruition. The exact timing of harvest is an art in itself, influenced by the sugar, acid, and tannin levels in the grapes, weather conditions, and the style of wine we aim to produce.
Our Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes each possess their own ideal window for harvesting. A well-timed harvest is instrumental in capturing the essence of each varietal, allowing us to produce wines that truly reflect the unique terroir of the Lake Chelan Valley.
The Special Nature of Our Pinot Noir
Among the varietals we grow, our Pinot Noir holds a special place, flourishing in the unique conditions offered by the Lake Chelan AVA. This specific grape variety is celebrated for its finicky nature. It demands careful cultivation, but when treated with respect, it rewards us with an exquisite, multi-layered wine.
The moderate temperatures, the specific soil composition, and the lake-influence of our AVA converge to create a distinctive microclimate. This shapes our Pinot Noir’s character, infusing it with a depth of flavor and complexity that sets it apart from those grown in other regions.
From its vibrant ruby color to its aromatic bouquet of ripe cherries, raspberry nuances, surrounded by its beauty and depth, our Lake Chelan Pinot Noir is a testament to the synergistic relationship between a grape variety and its terroir. It is not just a wine, but a story of the season, the soil, and the sensitive care we invest throughout the growing process.
2022 Pinot Noir harvest coming in.
The journey from bunch closure to harvest is a dance between nature and our team here at the farm. It is a testament to the miracles of nature and the art of winemaking. As we chart the remaining course of this season, we are excited to see the transformation of our humble grapes into the celebrated wines of the Lake Chelan Valley.
We hope you’ll join us in raising a glass to this remarkable journey and the many hands that make it possible (we’re so thankful for all of you). Happy Summer and we look forward to seeing you all at the farm.