Betz Family Winery 2014 Harvest Report
The 2014 vintage represents the third season in a row shaped by an early start followed by a warm growing season. Each of these seasons was successful, yet the wines from each were influenced by unique conditions during the growing season. After the back to back “cool” vintages of 2010 and 2011, 2012 brought a welcome break for our growers.
The 2012 season started early, but enjoyed moderate temperatures through flowering and veraison. August brought higher temperatures, but the temperatures lowered as we left September. The heat accumulation over the season was just above average. The wines are classic examples of Washington.
The 2013 growing season started with a bang, breaking records for both the earliest start and most rapid heat accumulation. By early September, when most of our Syrah and Merlot grapes were already in the winery, the weather changed. Cool weather persisted for several weeks, causing much of our Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to slow their development. For this reason, we look at 2013 as having “two” harvests; one before the cool down, and one after. The Syrah wines show more of the exotic nature of the record heat, while the Cabernet shows the extra dimension from hanging late into the season.
In the vineyards, 2014 marked the third year in a row for an early start for vine growth. Flowering, a crucial period in the vines annual cycle, took place under ideal weather conditions. The warm, calm weather resulted in one of the most compressed flowering periods in recent years, and very even berry size. This also meant that a large crop was hanging in the vineyards, which allowed growers to “green harvest”, a mid-season dropping of any bunches that were uneven or lagging behind in development.
Steady heat continued through July and August, leading to the earliest harvest ever for Betz Family Winery: we picked our first grapes on September 3rd. Over the following 4 weeks we harvested over 40 different vineyard blocks, many of them only 1-2 tons in size. Add to that our time in the vineyards in order to make the best harvest decisions possible, we visited and sampled each vineyard two to three times each week. We were rocking! The wines reflect the steady weather and even grape ripeness.