Grill Hours:

October 16th through March 31st
Saturday | Noon - 5PM


April 1st through October 15th
Friday - Sunday | Noon - 5pm | MENU (click to view)

Terra Blanca Winery and Estate Vineyard, in partnership with Twigs Bistro and Martini Bar, explores chateau-inspired cuisine with the Terra Blanca Vineyard Grill. Located at the beautiful winery and estate vineyard on Red Mountain. Our Vineyard Grill offers guests a wine country getaway with panoramic views of vineyards and the lower Yakima Valley.

The menu features enticing brick oven pizzas, salads, tapas, and handhelds, all superbly created to pair perfectly with Terra Blanca wines. The menu highlights food prepared in the wood-fire brick oven and produce from the Terra Blanca garden, when in season.

Featuring beer on tap from White Bluffs Brewery!

Call 509-588-6082 to make reservations today!

Photogallery rendered here.

Katy Rutland
 
October 15, 2014 | Katy Rutland

FAQ: Galet, the Best a Man Can Drink

“So what on earth is a galet?”

 

This question comes with a whole host of pronunciations. Gah-leht, gah-lay, gill-ay, jih-lay, and (the author’s personal favorite) jih-let, like the razor. There’s always a risk when introducing a wine name that is not a wine grape, and the 2009 Signature Series Galet is the perfect example, barely beating out the 2009 Signature Series Batholith for the number of “what?” questions it causes.

 

“So what on earth is a batholith?”

 

Both wines, like most of Terra Blanca’s blends, are named after geological terms. See, our Winemaker Keith Pilgrim has a master’s in geology from U.C. Davis, so he pulls that into his wine as an added uniqueness. Even our winery’s name, Terra Blanca, is Latin for “white earth,” named for the white hue our soil has from a high chalk content.

 

For the Galet, the rock that bears the same name is French. A galet is a river-deposited stone frequently found in the Syrah vineyards of southern Rhone. In laymen’s terms, it’s a river rock similar to the ones found along the shores of the Columbia and Yakima Rivers. They make great skipping stones.

 

Gives new meaning to “minerality” in wine, doesn’t it?

 

If you haven’t yet been able to try the 2009 Signature Series Galet, get to the Tasting Room quickly! Last count showed we only have about 10 cases left before it goes to Library. Because of its uniqueness, it’s certainly worth the trip to our small corner of the world.

 

As a Southern Rhone red blend, the Galet is made of five varietals, most of which are very uncommon in the United States. Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Cinsault, and Counoise make up this light and earthy wine. Never seen them before? You’re not alone. Syrah and Grenache are the most widely grown of those five varietals in the United States, and the least common four (everything but Syrah) are starting to crop up as single varietals in Washington.

 

We started this with a pronunciation issue. So how on earth do you actually pronounce “Galet”?

 

The American pronunciation is gah-leht while the French is gah-lay, and both put the emphasis on the second syllable. Want to really impress your friends? Know that Mourvedre is pronounced “moo‑ved-druh” or “moo-vay-dray.”

 

Speaking of Mourvedre, the 2009 Signature Series Mourvedre only has about 2 cases left before it goes to the Library! We expect it to only last another two weeks, if that. The 2009 Signature Series Galet is in a similar situation. Get out to the Tasting Room quickly to try these two unique wines before they’re off the bar for good!

 

Want to never miss another limited release wine like these two? Join our Club ONYX today! With three different options to best suit your wine desires, Club ONYX is an excellent way to stay connected while receiving amazing wines. Tell them Katy sent you!

 

Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca

Time Posted: Oct 15, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Katy Rutland
 
October 8, 2014 | Katy Rutland

Catch the Crush!

So we’ve had bud-break. We’ve had flowering. We’ve had fruition, veraison, and harvest. What comes next? Crushing!

 

October is always a busy time in a vineyard or winery, and this October is no different. With harvest well underway and ahead of schedule, it’s time to celebrate! Join us this weekend for Catch the Crush.

The festivities start Friday night with LEADFOOT, a local band, performing for our Café Orsa. They are a big deal, and anyone who attended Cuisine de Vin may remember them. They rocked the courtyard all night long and will be doing the same Friday night starting at 6 p.m. There will be a $5 cover for this evening, but with how good these guys are, it’s well worth it.

 

Saturday and Sunday are the “official” event days for Catch the Crush. We at Terra Blanca will be joining many other Red Mountain wineries to partner with Wine Yakima Valley for this amazing weekend. Premier Passes can still be purchased online, but tomorrow (Thursday, Oct 9) is the last day!  

 

What’s a Premier Pass?

 

It’s your ticket to all sorts of activities and specials throughout Yakima, Zillah, Prosser, and Red Mountain!

 

For pass holders, we will be providing complimentary tastings of our Daily Wine Selection. That’s $10 totally waived if you have a Premier Pass! You won’t even have to get your feet dirty by stomping grapes before you get in. Trust us, wine grape juice is really hard to get out of fabric, leather, and skin. Just ask one of our Wine Educators. They might as well have permanently purple hands.

 

For those in our Club ONYX, you will continue to receive complimentary tastings for you and your guests, but rather than making you face the daunting press at the bar, we have set aside a Club Lounge, complete with dedicated Wine Educator and Café Orsa Server. Come socialize with other Club ONYX members, enjoy lunch from the Café, and taste a pre-release of our 2009 Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

That’s right, pre-release.

 

Other specials for the weekend include the ever-popular 2009 Arch Terrace Triple Threat, our bright and fruity Cab. Sauv., Merlot, Syrah blend, which is selling for $150 a case. That’s half off! And if you haven’t been by in October yet, come out and try our October Magnum Special, a 2003 Reserve Block 8 Syrah. This 1.5L big bottle (affectionately known as Mama Bear) is only $75!

 

Want to see the crushing and winemaking processes up close? Sign up for a tour! For more information or to schedule, call Daryl Baker at (509) 588.6082 ext. 104.

 

Whether you’re out on a tasting adventure or just visiting a couple favorites, be sure to make Terra Blanca a part of your Catch the Crush experience!

 

Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca

Time Posted: Oct 8, 2014 at 12:00 PM
Katy Rutland
 
October 1, 2014 | Katy Rutland

Wine Lingo: Drier Than a Desert Summer

In this week’s edition of Wine Lingo, we’ll be clearing up a common misconception many people have while wine tasting. Those of you from out of the area probably don’t know this, but the east side of the state (that’s everything east of the Cascade Mountains) has had an incredibly dry, hot summer. As we explored in a previous edition of Terra Blanca by the Glass, that heat has sped up our vine ripening, and the dryness has made fungus a non-issue.

 

This time, though, we’ll be looking at a different kind of dry, the kind that you find in wine.

 

Dry vs. Tannic

 

“That red wine is very dry,” is a common phrase our Wine Educators hear in the Tasting Room.

 

“Do you have any reds that aren’t so dry?” is another common question.

 

What these two have in common is that they refer to a different compound in red wines called tannin. Tannin is in all red wines, and it comes from the skin and seed of the grape during fermentation. Tasting tannin leaves a dry-mouth or puckering sensation after you swallow, which leads many to call the wine “dry” when the more accurate descriptor is “tannic.”

 

So if tannic wine tastes dry, what exactly is dry wine?

 

Dry vs. Sweet

 

In wine, dry and sweet are opposites. Technically speaking, dryness and sweetness refer to the amount of residual sugar found in a wine. Residual sugar is any sugar that is left uneaten by yeast after the fermentation process. Think “residual” as “left over.”

 

Here’s a rough breakdown of RS (residual sugar) levels and their labels:

 

  • Dry: <1% RS
  • Off-dry: 1-2% RS
  • Semi-sweet: 2-4% RS
  • Sweet: >4%
  • (oddly enough, “dessert” wine is classified by its alcohol content, not its sugar. Weird huh?)

 

Now. All of those are estimates. This is where things leave the land of technicality and enter the realm of perception. Most people who are used to eating or drinking sweet things won’t perceive subtle levels of RS, but people who don’t eat or drink many sweet things can pick up lower levels fairly easily. The average person perceives the presence of RS when it’s around 0.6-0.8%.

 

For an example of this, check out the differences between a dry white wine (like our 2012 Arch Terrace Sauvignon Blanc) and a dry white that has a touch of sugar (like our 2013 Arch Terrace Rose). The Sauv. Blanc is bone dry, whereas the Riesling sits at 0.7% RS.

 

Then there’s a wine like our 2010 Signature Series Block 5 Chardonnay. It is dry as dry can be. Not a lick of residual sugar to be found; however, thanks to the flavor profile of the wine, many describe it as sweet, just like you’d expect butterscotch or toasted vanilla to taste. It is not a sweet wine.

 

See why it’s so easy to get terms like “dry” and “sweet” confused?

 

The best advice we can give in dry vs. sweet situations is this: when in doubt, ask. Our Wine Educators are incredibly knowledgeable, and if they don’t have the answer, they will find it.

 

Whether you like dry or sweet wines, join us out in the Tasting Room for a hands on demonstration of why these two are opposites.

 

Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca

Time Posted: Oct 1, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Katy Rutland
 
September 24, 2014 | Katy Rutland

This Just In! Red Moutnain Block Party!

Tickets are still available for the 3rd annual Red Mountain Block Party this Saturday! Get ‘em while they’re here! These passes, $60 per person, will grant you VIP access to all sorts of activities at various Red Mountain wineries. Purchase them through the Red Mountain AVA Alliance website at www.redmountainava.com. Just click “Block Party” and you’ll be taken to the purchase portal.

 

What’s the pass get you at Terra Blanca?

 

We’re glad you asked!

 

All Block Party participants will be led down to our Barrel Caves where Winemaker and Owner Keith Pilgrim and Assistant Winemaker Randy Swanson will be leading guests through a past, present, future of winemaking. In the caves, guests will try a libraried wine, a current vintage, and a barrel sample before being led to the Red Fermentation Bay for a sample of the recent harvest.

 

After that, guests can go upstairs to our Bella Vista Room where student chefs from Washington State University have created an assortment of dishes to pair with Terra Blanca wines. It’ll be a flight of food and wine, and the chefs will be on hand to explain their creations while our Wine Educators talk about the wines.

 

The party kicks off early on Friday night with many wineries hosting Winemaker’s Dinners. Tickets for Terra Blanca’s are sold out, and 37 people will enjoy a 9-course meal and wine pairing. Much like the pairings for Saturday’s festivities, the courses for the Winemaker’s Dinner were each planned and will be prepared by the student chefs of WSU under the guidance and tutelage of Jamie Callison, the Executive Chef of WSU and author of “The Crimson Spoon.”

 

Because of the dinner Friday night, Café Orsa will be closed on Friday. Never fear! There will be plenty of food to go around Saturday and Sunday when Café Orsa holds its regular hours: 12-5 p.m.

 

Also, for those curious about how Cuisine de Vin went last week… The Children’s Developmental Center raised over $50,000! Thank you so much for your generous support! We really couldn’t do it without you.

 

Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca

Time Posted: Sep 24, 2014 at 11:59 AM
Katy Rutland
 
September 18, 2014 | Katy Rutland

Join the Gala of Cuisine de Vin

As the sun sets over the Horse Heaven Hills, the last light gilds wisteria leaves, rustling with the wind as it sighs day’s end. A cool promise after the afternoon heat, the breeze dances through vine and arch alike, still restless and searching. Sconces light in its wake, casting their own golden glow over a cobbled terrace, welcoming the evening’s first arrivals.

 

You see, this is no ordinary night. Oh no. This night is the Cuisine de Vin.

This Friday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m., Terra Blanca Winery is transformed, hosting the largest fundraiser our year. Guests from all around gather to celebrate wine, food, family, and the successes of the Children’s Developmental Center.

 

For 7 years, Keith and ReNae Pilgrim have hosted the Cuisine de Vin to raise funds for the CDC, and over those years, many others have rallied with them. Joining Terra Blanca will be Hedges Family Estates, Market Vineyard, and Kiona Vineyard, in addition to several restaurants and caterers, including Twigs Martini Bar & Bistro, 3C Prime, and Atomic Ale Brewpub & Eatery.

 

For those of you unfamiliar, the Children’s Developmental Center is a local organization that provides aid to young children and families to help overcome early developmental delays. Since 1999, the Center has provided education, awareness, empowerment, and mental, physical, and occupational therapies for children and families in the Benton-Franklin Counties who need extra help reaching their full potentials.

 

“I am so excited to partner with Keith and ReNae [Pilgrim],” said Diane Turney, the Center’s Development Director and the woman responsible for the Center’s marketing, community awareness, and fundraising. This is also her first year with the Center and first Cuisine de Vin, but she has 17 years of marketing experience under her belt, so this isn’t her first rodeo.

 

“Thank goodness there’s a really good committee,” Diane still said. “People like Connie, Jan, and Jan have been doing this for years and have made it really easy for me to come in and make a difference.”

 

Connie Ostrander, Jan Hansens, and Jan Fraley have helped organize the Cuisine de Vin in past years, and each have their favorite aspects of the event.

 

“The atmosphere is always so electric,” Connie explained. “It’s casual but classy and a great way to meet new people.”

 

“It’s an amazing place to get to talk to the chefs and a neat way to try new foods,” Jan H. agreed.

 

With 16 restaurants and caterers and a barista providing sustenance to pair with the various Red Mountain wines poured during the night, there will be plenty of food on hand for every palate.

 

One of the biggest fundraisers during the event is a silent auction. Everything from gift baskets, wine (of course) to spa days, authenticated autographed memorabilia, and even trips will be up for auction, and every item was donated.

 

“All proceeds stay in the community, helping the children in Benton City, the Tri-Cities, and surrounding area,” Diane said.

 

“How much support people are giving is amazing,” said Cathryn Tames, Executive Director of the CDC. “Everything adds up to make a difference in the lives of the children and their families.”

 

And that’s an important point when the Center helps over 700 children and their families in the area. Some families who have used the Center in the past or are currently using the Center will be joining us Friday evening, as well.

 

 “Many people hear about an event at Terra Blanca and are interested in going,” Cathryn said. “But they might not have heard of the Center. This way they have a fun night and learn about us.”

 

“And [the Center] fills a need in the community,” Jan F. added.

 

“Ultimately it’s about the people, about the children,” Jan F. agreed. “Whatever we do here helps improve their lives.”

 

By participating in the variety of activities during the Cuisine de Vin or just by attending, you will help support a much-needed service that provides help to hundreds of families. The donations for these activities have come from community and those wanting to support the Center.

 

One favorite, the Mystery Wine Grab, returns this year with several cases of wine, each bottle wrapped to disguise what’s inside. For $25, you can pull a bottle at random and get anything from a $25 bottle to $100+. Joining the auction and wine grab is a new event, one that takes advantage of Terra Blanca’s unique landscaping.

 

Golf Universe is sponsoring a chip shot competition. For $20, you can try your swing to hit three balls, trying to get it closest to the flag at the bottom of the hill. Never fear, there are prizes for the winners! In addition to that, Lourdes Health Systems has brought a dual-temperature, 32-bottle wine fridge for raffle. Each ticket is $20, and the winner will be drawn at 9 p.m. Live music will be provided by local cover band LEAD FOOT, who have donated their musical talents to this event for several years.

 

When it comes to making the decision to attending the Cuisine de Vin, we think Connie has put it best.

 

“What better way to spend a Friday night?”

 

Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca and the Children's Developmental Center

 

P.S. Tickets for the event are $60, or $70 at the door. To pre-order yours, call 509.735.1063 x 281 or email dianet@chidlrensdc.org.

(Top Row, left to right: Jan Fraley, Crazy Connie Ostrander, Cathryn Tames; Front Row, left to right: Jan Hansens, Diane Turney)

Time Posted: Sep 18, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Katy Rutland
 
September 10, 2014 | Katy Rutland

What's Up in the Winery: Harvest Moon

Astronomers were calling this month’s full moon a “super moon,” and super it certainly was. This time of year, the moon has another nickname, one that has stood for centuries to highlight the end of summer and serve as a reminder to celebrate this time of plenty.

 

A harvest moon.

 

For the last few weeks, Terra Blanca’s vineyards have been very, very busy. With the heat wave of June and July, not even the wildfires and their smoke could hold the vines back. Harvest is upon us, and Chardonnay is already picked and fermenting.

 

For a few days, we were uncertain which varietal would be picked next. Merlot and Syrah were in a dead heat for over a week, both ripening quickly and showing signs they were close to readiness. In the end, Syrah won the race, and Merlot wasn’t far behind.

 

For those unfamiliar with winemaking, the harvest is one of the busiest times for a winery. As soon as grapes are ripe, they must be harvested, pressed, and fermented. Each varietal ripens at a slightly different pace. Nebbiolo, for example, is the first vine to flower and the last grape to ripen, requiring a very long growing season, while Cabernet Sauvignon can be up to three weeks behind Merlot in ripening.

 

Don’t get us started on Petit Verdot. Its name means “little green” for a reason.

 

Crushing and fermentation is a constant balancing act of what is ready when, almost like a dance in how one fermentation tank empties just in time to receive the next batch of fruit.

 

If you’ve never experienced a harvest or seen a winery while it turns grapes into wine, now is the best time of year to join us for a tour. With so much going on, there is plenty to see and absorb. Though our tour guides are entertaining, it’s always more interesting to see the process in the works.

 

So come, join us, and help us celebrate the 2014 vintage!

 

Vedi, Vini, Vinum!

Terra Blanca

 

Time Posted: Sep 10, 2014 at 1:00 PM
Katy Rutland
 
September 3, 2014 | Katy Rutland

Washington Wine Month Ends with a Bang

August is usually a busy time for a winery and vineyard. Not only is it Washington Wine Month but also our harvest season started. Though Chardonnay ripened a couple weeks ahead of schedule, the vineyard has been all a bustle for the last month, and the Tasting Room was no different.

 

Of all of the crazy deals we celebrated WWM with, we sold out of quiet a few of them. The 3L of 2002 Terra Blanca Cabernet Sauvignon lasted all of four days, the 1.5L of 2002 Reserve Block 8 Syrah didn’t stick around for much longer, and all of the case specials practically walked themselves out the door.

 

Labor Day weekend was especially awesome in the Tasting Room. In addition to the amazing crowds who made us a part of their vacations, we released a new wine! The 2009 Signature Series Galet (pronounced gah – leht or gah – lay) made its debut Friday.

 

The 2009 is the second vintage released of the Galet. The first, 2008 Signature Series Galet, was released last November and was libraried in February. If you haven’t yet had a chance to taste this Southern Rhone blend, get out to the Tasting Room fast. The 15 cases we started with already have a dent in them.

 

As if August wasn’t busy enough with Washington Wine Month, September is looking to be even busier. Syrah and Merlot are in a footrace to see which will be picked next, and Cab Sauv is about two weeks out. Plus, we’ve heard through the grapevine that we’ll be releasing quite a few new wines over the next few months. The rumored count is around 10, including the 2009 Signature Series Galet and several other wines of equally limited quantities.

Besides harvest and wine releases, September is also hosting two huge events! These will be previewed in more detail in the coming weeks, but mark your calendars for Friday, September 19 for the annual Cuisine de Vin and Saturday, September 27 for the Red Mountain Block Party!

 

Want to stay in the loop? Either like us on Facebook, follow our Twitter (yes, we have a resident tweet expert), join our ONYX Club for regular updates, or sign up for our e-mail newsletter.

 

Finally, it can’t be said enough, thank you to everyone who joined us for a tasting, tour, or café! We wouldn’t be here without your support, and you definitely helped make Washington Wine Month a success.

 

As always, Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca

Time Posted: Sep 3, 2014 at 3:00 PM
Katy Rutland
 
August 27, 2014 | Katy Rutland

Katy's Kitchen: Chardonnay for Two!

In case you hadn’t heard, we’re harvesting our Chardonnay this week! That’s right! Harvest is upon us already, which means the Winery is going to be very, very busy until every last grape is picked, pressed, and prepped for aging.

 

To celebrate this, we’re heading back into the kitchen to find what goes best with Chardonnay. Seafood is a common pairing for all kinds of Chards, be they stainless steel aged and crisp or oak aged and buttery. There is a fish dish for any taste and profile. A general rule of thumb is that Chardonnay can be paired with foods that are white, things like alfredo, chicken, and scallops.

 

Rather than dive into the familiar, we’re going to explore a dish on the fringes of acceptable. To some, this might be a no-brainer pairing. For others, it might raise a few eyebrows. Hear us out.

 

Baked Salmon with Two Sauces

Suggested Pairings: 2012 Arch Terrace Chardonnay, 2010 Signature Series Block 5 Chardonnay

 

What you’ll need:

 

2 small salmon fillets

2 large lemons

1 lb butter (melted)

¼ cup dry white wine

Sea salt

Black pepper (fresh ground)

Pinch of Parsley

4 tbs Minced Garlic

1 mango

1 red bell pepper

1 red onion (optional)

½ cucumber

Cilantro

 

To prepare salmon:

  1. Set oven to 450⁰. Cover a standard baking tray with foil enough to fold over into a tent; this makes clean up much easier and helps steam the fish.
  2. Lightly salt and pepper the salmon fillets on both sides.
  3. Cut 1 lemon into round slices.
  4. On foiled baking tray, brush a light layer of melted butter and lay salmon skin-side down. Set remaining butter aside.
  5. Lay lemon slices down center of salmon fillets.
  6. Tent foil over salmon fillets. Do not allow foil to touch the top of the fillet.
  7. Bake until fish is cooked through and slightly flaky; 12-15 minutes.
  8. When baked through, remove salmon from oven and keep warm. Do not remove foil.

To prepare sauce 1 (white wine garlic sauce):

  1. Combine garlic, white wine, and remaining butter into a small saucepan and cook over high heat until liquid is half evaporated away. Stir constantly to keep garlic from scorching.
  2. Squeeze one large lemon into pan. Remove any seeds that fall in.
  3. Sauté until garlic is a light brown. Add pinch of salt and black pepper.
  4. Turn heat to its lowest setting, stirring occasionally to keep sauce blended

To prepare sauce 2 (mango salsa):

  1. Finely dice mango, cucumber, and bell pepper. Diced red onion optional.
  2. Chop cilantro
  3. Toss mango, cucumber, pepper, and cilantro in a medium bowl. Add pinch of salt.
  4. Retain natural juices for a looser salsa. Add jalapeño for a spicier salsa.

To finish:

  1. Plate salmon skin side down.
  2. Pour one of the two sauces over the salmon.
  3. For pairing wine, use the 2012 Arch Terrae Chardonnay for the salsa, 2010 Signature Series Block 5 Chardonnay for the white wine garlic sauce.

 

Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca

Time Posted: Aug 27, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Katy Rutland
 
August 20, 2014 | Katy Rutland

Wine Lingo: Up in the Clouds

Planes. Fancy. Stairs. Running away. Wine.

 

What do these five very different words have in common? The word “flight” can describe each of them. Airplane flight, flight of fancy or stairs, taking flight, and a wine flight are all too common expressions.

 

Most of you know that a wine flight is a series of wines during a tasting, which is different from a vertical (or horizontal) tasting. But what exactly does “flight” mean for wine? Rather than delve into definitions, we’ll be looking at an origin story of sorts. Why is a wine tasting described as a flight?

 

Research suggests that it comes from the same usage as a flight of stairs: a series of steps progressing in a certain direction. For wine, that’s a fancy way of saying we move from lightest to heaviest instead of up or down, like on stairs.

 

In fact, the French phrase for “flight of stairs” is volée d’escalier, and a flight of wine is “volée d’vin.” Coincidentally, the word “volée” comes from the same root as “volley,” which is also a series (usually used in reference to artillery or tennis). “Volley” is much older than “volée,” suggesting that something was lost in translation when “volée” came to mean “flight” in English.

 

If not for that simple misunderstanding, we could be having “volleys of wine.” Doesn’t quite have the same ring to it, does it?

 

Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca

Time Posted: Aug 20, 2014 at 11:00 AM
Katy Rutland
 
August 13, 2014 | Katy Rutland

Winemaker's Wisdom: Biology of Fallout

After a blistering hot early summer, it looked like harvest was going to be ahead of schedule. Long days of hot sun exposure increases the photosynthesizing ability of the vines, which means that the grapes will ripen faster. Kind of like how sunbathing speeds up your tan.

According to our Winemaker Keith Pilgrim, if it stayed as hot as it was through the end of June and most of July, we would have been harvesting almost 2 weeks ahead of schedule.

 

That might not be the case anymore.

 

With two new wildfires in addition to those still burning in Wenatchee, Chelan, and Leavenworth, smoke hangs thick across the horizon. From the Tasting Room’s parking lot, Rattlesnake Mountain is a lighter brown smudge against a dull grey sky, and the Horse Heaven Hills are noticeably paler, almost disappearing later in the day.

 

Not exactly a panoramic view.

 

Our Wine Educators are often asked if the smoke will affect the grapes.

 

“Does the wine taste smokier?” is a common question. The simple answer is that no, the grape will not taste smokier from smoke being in the air. That said, the smoke will affect the fruit, and more similarly to a cool year than most people expect.

 

 “[The smoke] is almost as bad as 2012,” Keith said, looking out from the Tasting Room. “Those fires pushed us back a few weeks. If this keeps up, it’ll delay ripening again.”

 

And why is that?

 

There is a phenomena in climatology (the study of climates), usually associated with volcanic eruptions or nuclear attacks, called fallout. Here in the Tri-Cities, home of the Manhattan Project, we are experiencing a fallout from the multiple active wildfires around the state.

 

So what does that have to do with wine?

 

With the ash in the air, sunlight is filtered and outright blocked.

 

“We’re getting less than 50% of the sunlight we get on a clear day,” said Keith. “So photosynthesis is slowed.”

 

Remember back to high school biology. Photosynthesis is how plants produce energy for themselves. Without sunlight, they are missing part of the equation and can’t produce the same amount of energy. This means that, though the temperatures are still hot, our vines will have a delayed ripening.

 

It looks like that our hot summer put us ahead of schedule, but the smoke is putting on the brakes. 

 

Consider this a Public Service Announcement. Anyone with respiratory problems should be very careful when venturing or working outside, and now is the perfect time to get your car’s air filter checked.

 

If you do decide to brave the haze, join us in the Tasting Room for our Washington Wine Month specials! Rumor has it that we have a couple Library Wines open for tasting, including the 2002 Reserve Block 8 Syrah, which has a smoke of its own.

 

Veni, Vidi, Vinum!

Terra Blanca

Time Posted: Aug 13, 2014 at 12:55 PM