2019 Idaho grape harvest wraps up for the season

Posted at 5:23 AM, Nov 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-08 07:23:38-05

Idaho wineries and vineyards have finished their annual harvest intake process. Grape growers and winemakers say the 2019 grapes will produce balanced wines with lower alcohol content and good structure.

“Idaho had a wet spring and cool summer, by historic standards. People who managed their fruit to this unique season will have great wines,” said Earl Sullivan, Owner and Winemaker at Telaya Wine Co. in the Snake River Valley. “We’ve had to adjust our winemaking process this year to accommodate the early freeze, but we expect another year of great and more structured wines.”

The 2019 temperatures were steady and cooler, without many days of extreme heat. That created above-average numbers of ideal growing degree days between April and October. Weather stability allowed fruit to ripen evenly, developing concentrated flavors and favorable colors.

A two-day hard freeze in early October demanded a quick harvest. “Although harvested a bit earlier than usual, the maturity level of the grapes are on track to produce balanced wines,” said Coco Umiker, Owner and Winemaker at Clearwater Canyon Cellars.

Most vineyards are seeing lower yields this year. Viticulturists confirm this is due to normal, healthy fluctuation in the grape growing process.

“Be on the lookout for viognier and chardonnay from our 2019 grapes,” said Jake Cragin, Vineyard Manager with Skyline Vineyards. “All are showing strong this early in the winemaking process. We are also impressed by the malbec and our low-yield cabernet sauvignon. Overall, the wine from this season will trend toward lower alcohol, higher finesse wines.”

Vineyards and wineries encourage guests to come to tasting rooms during the grape processing season. “It’s a great time to visit Idaho wineries,” said Crystal Potter, Co-owner and Business Manager of Potter Wines. “Take in the smells of harvest while you taste wines and talk with tasting room staff about what’s to come.”