Crush had the most beautiful weather: warm temperatures, minimal precipitation. We finished harvesting fruit and we had some rain as the temperatures dropped quite a bit, but still fabulous for early November. This idyllic environment changed drastically during the second week of November when the major storm out of Alaska drove our temperatures well below freezing rapidly and dropped some snow late in the freezing weather. The vines were still green with any berries remaining totally frozen (a great year for ice wine if you had room to make it), the orchards were still in full leaf, some with fruit still hanging, and there was no blanket of snow to buffer the cold. We had to thaw the rain barrels to empty them! The freeze lasted from the 11th to the 20th before climbing to the fifties during the day and the forties at night. Remember the motorcycle ride the day before Thanksgiving, it was well over sixty that day in Walla Walla County.
The roller coaster dipped again as the weekend following the holiday was again below freezing. Where we were on the west side of the state snow fell creating a peaceful blanket, cutting power to thousands of people for most of Saturday. Walla Walla had a bit of snow that weekend too; mostly ice storms followed. Monday and Tuesday were in the fifties and high sixties, lows of mid-forties at night thanks to the ‘Pineapple Express’ out of the southwest. (We aren’t the only recipient of crazy weather, that drought in California has become serious flooding.) This can not be good for the vines! How much damage are we going to see come Spring ’15? This is our second winter in Walla Walla and there is no trend to follow. We are told they are both out-of-the-ordinary weather years – but the last one produced an incredible plethora of grapes, what will this one do? Surely there are canes that are damaged and primary if not secondary buds dead.
Wind, crazy, blustery winds, have been tearing through Walla Walla for the last two days. It has moved everything that hasn’t been secured. Neatly piled leaves, lined up in the street for collection by the city are now all over the community again. Trash and the cans everything blew out of are strewn across lawns like odd ornaments amongst the holiday decorations. This evening an entire neighborhood was without power, not sure if there were others, but our electricity had a couple of blips with the morning gusts. Wind isn’t likely to make or break this years crop, but hey, what gives with this weather? Anywhere else experiencing off-kilter weather?