Puget Sound AVA heading for another warm year in 2015? I am a weather geek as my wife will tell you. Sure I obsess over weather statistics and climate information. I am always trying to stay a head of the game in the grape growing world. I am especially interested in how this pertains to growing grapes in a cool climate. I have to admit I am a sucker for cool climate wines. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling… I love them all (as long as they aren’t sweet!). When I started this journey, we barely had the internet and it was hard finding information about grapes and growing techniques for the Puget Sound, or for that fact just about anywhere in the world. It was all in books and, yes, I did order books from Germany and Australia because the had more complete information about the climate of the Puget Sound than books from the USA. But, even they were based on a few weather station mostly located at WSU research stations which can be quite a bit cooler than the best places to grow grapes in the Puget Sound basin. Namely, I am thinking about the Mt. Vernon research station, which is in a very cold location.
Anyways… I got off track a little there! But it goes to show you how public perception of something (Seattle is rainy and cold) is not always the case. But, we are really looking at some good weather for the next few weeks here in the Seattle area. The Climate Prediction Center is predicting a warmer and drier trend for the next 90 days or so. They are saying we are on the tail end of an El Nino year and this should all end by the middle of the sumer.
Here is what I think… There is no way this is bad for grower in the Puget Sound region. Warmer and drier weather means an early start to the growing season. Having an early start is always a good thing west of the cascades because you never know what is coming. I have definitely seen the weather fall apart before harvest. 2010 was a good example of a year that started off great, but when September came it rained and rained for a full month and wiped out my crop. BUT, I have also seen where we got off to an warm, early start and things cooled off and because we had an early start, we were allowed to harvest in a reasonable time.
I guess the bottom line to the story for growing in the Puget Sound AVA is warmer is always better no matter when it comes!