Walla Walla-area winemakers cheered by harvest

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Expect some quality wines to come from the 2013 grapes.

With harvest in the books, local winemakers are raving about the fruits of their labor.

According to results of a survey conducted by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance, almost 90 percent of respondents said the overall quality of the 2013 vintage was above average or exceptional. Almost a third of those characterized it as exceptional. About half of the people said grape tonnage per acre harvested was above average.

“We have a vast variety of terrain and elevation in the Walla Walla (American Viticulture Area),” said wine alliance Executive Director Duane Wollmuth. “But all over the valley winemakers were thrilled with the quality of the grapes. We’re lucky to be in one of the best wine growing regions in the world, and we’re anticipating great wines from the 2013 vintage.”

Based on responses, winemakers anticipate ripe but balanced wines attributed in part to a warmer year that led into a cool fall.

The harvest was somewhat longer than originally expected, the alliance reported. Most of those surveyed started picking grapes in early to mid-September. Harvest continued into early November after a cool-down in September that slowed the ripening.

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