Harvesting Albarino clusters on a gorgeous early morning in the vineyard.
At 1 am on Aug 17th Pablo, foreman, employee for 37 years, 2 Pellenc harvest operators, 3 tractor gondola operators, Macauley, and I gathered for coffee, safety review, prayer and the beginning of our 17th Coyote Canyon Vineyard Harvest.
By 3 am with a few belt tightening’s and small harvester adjustments we had completed our 1st semi load of grapes, Gewurtraminer, followed by 2 loads of Pinot Gris. The Earliest harvest on record has officially began. On Aug 18th Coyote Canyon Winery harvested its 1st grapes Albarino for its Sparkling Wine.
The week continued with harvest of Chardonnay grapes. The 1st merlot was harvested for North Star on Aug 28th and Aug 29th and Primitvo for Angel Vine and Prosser Vineyard and Winery. By Aug. 31st and Sept 1 Merlot and Chardonnay were in full Swing.
On Sept. 1 we harvested 1/3 of Coyote Canyon Winery grapes including all Albarino, Merlot and a large portion of our primitive, Syrah, Grenache, Tempranillo, and Graciano. Wow! Never before and probably never again will such a vast variety of grapes be harvested in one day. Justin is loving it!
On August 29th our vineyard had accumulated 2,936 growing degree compared to 2,641 on the same date in 2014. A difference of 11% or about 14 days. This is a record since Coyote Canyon was started 21 years ago. What will it be in the next decade?
Mac picking Syrah and weighing clusters for lag weights. The information collected from lag weights helps us to predict our crop load. From this we can determine if we need to remove more grapes from the vine. Quality is a direct correlation with crop size, a smaller crop usually means the potential for higher quality wines. Higher quality wines start with more expensive grapes because of the location, a lower tonnage, extra hand labor and the necessity of getting all operations completed in a timely fashion.
Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon with grapes exposed to the early morning light after leaf removal.
The vineyard has continued to develop and mature at a record setting pace. On June 30th we had accumulated 1,360 growing degree days, GDD. We had 996 GDD on the same date last year. That is 37% increase in GDD than last year.
We began collecting our lag weights on June 29th as compared to July 14 last season. The vineyard is now more than two weeks ahead of normal development.
Machine leafing was completed on Friday June 26th and hand leafing will be completed early tomorrow July 3rd. We trim most blocks with a sickle trimmer. We started that operation on Monday June 29th. Our canopy size is slightly larger than normal because of the 1.4” inches of rain in mid-May. With the extensive heat the canopy has quite growing and looks very good.
We have broken 100 degrees now for 7 days in a row with a high of 111. It is forecast to stay above 100 degrees for another 5 days before dropping into the 90 on Wed. July 8th. The grapes have taken the high temperature very well. I think the larger than average cluster weights which I was predicted now should be quite normal. If the rest of the season just remains average harvest should begin in late August in the early varieties.
Tasting Room Magazine reviews our 2010 H/H Estates Michael Andrews Red Reserve!!
Editor’s Choice: OUTSTANDING
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So much going on around here….shoot thinning, cluster counting, mainline water leak repair, the list is long. Our team is busy, busy, busy.
With shoot thinning complete, now Son Macauley is counting clusters. Yes, each block has to have its shoots & clusters counted. We have about 125 blocks. This is necessary to see that the crew has thinned to the appropriate crop level. This information collected will help us make decision in how to manage the crop for the rest of the season, including meeting our end of season goal for yield and quality.
Pablo, vineyard equipment foreman, and Antonio are keeping this vineyard running.
Great Northwest Wine’s review of our 2013 Albariño.
Bud break comes early! Our early bud break in our Chardonnay block has been around April 4th and this year it was over 25% open on March 28th. I believe our average bud break to be about April 10th . that would make us about 7 days ahead of what I would consider an early bud break and 12 days ahead of average. When the buds are open they are much more susceptible to cold. In the 21 years I have grown grapes we have never been damaged by a spring frost event. We have an excellent drainage and always ask our lord for protection. With milder than normal weather, we have continued to get our work done ahead of schedule. Pruning was completed by March 10th and taping and tying of cordons will be completed by April 7th. This is also more than a week early.
Watch to see how the vineyard develops this season, everything is looking to be early!
Robert & Louise Andrews
65th Wedding Anniversary
Everyone needs a hero to look up to, an example on who shows us the way through the good times, hard times, the mountain tops and the valleys. Dad & Mom you have been mine. If a medal could be given, you would both get the Platinum. The reason your sons and daughters love to farm is because of the memories you created at the farm.
The memories of early morning feeding the cattle in all kinds of weather, including my foot slipping of the clutch of the pick-up, going through a gate and hitting the post. This put Scott and Barb into the window of the pick-up. We were lucky there were no serious injuries. There are memories of harvesting (cooking, trucking, and combining), helping at livestock show, and changing sprinklers together. We all had a job and felt needed and accomplished as being part of the family. As the family grew so did the farm or as the farm grew so did the family. You created in all of us a sense of belonging and responsibility. We learned a responsibility to the farm as well as the family.
One of the most important things was the drilling of the first well in 1956. This changed all of our lives and set the stage for the future of all of our families. Dad’s foresight to seek permits for future irrigation and land development created a way for many of us and your grandchildren to have their roots in the land and farming.
In our busy schedule our Dad & mom were 4-H leaders for the Horse Heaven Stock Masters 4-H Club and taught us about caring for animals and more about responsibility.
Mom taught the girls cooking & sewing and helped us all with our 4-H record books. Dad taught us all the feeding and grooming or our livestock projects. Through the whole process we learned about working together as a club and about doing the best with what we had. We learned that through hard work and paying attention to details we could produce an award winning project.
I remember when I was very young going fishing at American River. First we went in our old plywood pickup camper, I’m not sure it had a top because I can remember looking up at the moon. I remember Dad carrying me on his back down the logs to get to the best fishing spot. He never once slipped or dropped me into the river. Later came Terry Trailer. How you fit us all in that 14’ camper was remarkable.
Special vacations that I remember were to Glacier national park (fish were small) and Yellow Stone National park. The sound of bears tipping and rattling garbage cans and the scream from a nearby camper sent shivers down my back. Later Terry Trailer was used for camping at the Toppenish Grandview and Kennewick fairs for 4-H and FFA livestock shows.
A lot of great memories were created while camping at our Goose Prairie Cabin. It was rustic with an outside well with a hand water pump and a nearby outhouse with your favorite Montgomery Ward’s catalogue. I don’t remember catching as many fish in Bumping River as American but we had a lot of fun. I remember special times with the Lay’s and our 4-H club. One special Father’s Day the Horse Heaven Stock Masters met to fish Bumping Lake for Silvers. Between all of us we caught over a hundred of those little guys. We would put two hooks on our line when we got one fish on the line another would bite and we could catch two fish at a time. Dad, I hope you had fun that exiting father’s day! We all did and Bruce and I were reminiscing on the fishing trip we just had. Thank You!!
We always looked forward to relatives visiting the farm. When the Lay’s would come, it was a special time to show them the farm. We would have them help with the chores. They liked to catch frogs and tadpoles in the pond and go ride horses. One year Scott and Steve went for a ride down the road where the wheat trucks had some huge ruts in the road. Skylark tripped and Scott was trapped under her. Steve rode back to the house for help. Skylark was still lying in the truck tire rut when help arrived. She got up and Scott was covered with dirt and escaped with only a broken arm.
Summers were especially busy for mom since she was responsible for feeding the entire harvest crew. Before dinner all the men gathered in the basement for Coca Cola or Rainer. I loved to listen to their stories. I’m sure they were in color (colorful). One guy in particular would give me a ride on his back up to the back yard and sometimes jump the fence. Friday another hired hand would frequently bring us kids toys he won playing punch board. Yes, we were spoiled. Mom always had a variety food, never one course. I remember the dessert and the pies which I still love.
During harvest Grandpa (Dad) would sometimes stay and often moms sisters helped cook. Dad’s family brother and cousins would stay at the house. We older kids would sleep outside on old army cots. These were good times with a lot happening. We would count the mosquito bites on one arm. You needed to beat 300 to be a winner. One year in particular we purchased a large set of 4th of July fireworks. Most of the worker slept in the large machine shed, also on army cots. They asked me to wake them up early. I rode my bike by throwing an M-80 under their bed. They woke up but not in great spirits. I was showing grandma, Mabel, how to light an M-80 fire Cracker. The fuse fell out in my hand and powder spilled on my hand igniting and burning it.
Harvest meant getting combine parts and I can remember going with my Dad to get them. At that time we would cross the river at Roosevelt to Arlington by Ferry. The river was much swifter than. You would often see some huge whirl pools in the crossing.
One day Dad sent us, Scott and me to get parts at the Jack or Mac Maine’s farm on Sand ridge road. I was probably fifteen and Scott eleven. We were excited to go out on our own. We were driving our little green Opel. I drove up and let Scott drive back. We were almost back to the farm. We were stopping for something and Scott hit the gas rather than the brake and we went through our pasture fence. There were no injuries and the Opel got a baby blue paint job.
There are many more stories to share and we each have some. Mom & Dad you are celebrating 65 years and we are all still alive.
Mom and Dad you supported and loved your family in every way.
You helped us to get our first house and continue to help your grandchildren to do so. You cheered us in all our activities and gave scholarships to your grand kids to help with their college education. You have participated and attended all of your children’s and grandchildren’s weddings.
Mom you encouraged your children to get their grandchildren involved in the community hall where many fun activities and competitions took place. You encouraged and provided swimming lessons in your pool for your grand kids and neighbors.
Dad and Mom in your later years you set an example for all of us by getting involved with the church. You have prayed for us all, encouraged us to attend and be a part of Bible studies held in your home. Mom you for many years participated in the Church Awana Program helping to teach our youth Bible verses. Dad you were the financial secretary of Mabton Grace Brethren for eighteen years. You helped to organize our yearly Father’s Day church camping trip which we participated in for many years. You encouraged and helped with the Spanish Church, supported missionaries around the world especially Ted Ruiz in the Philippines. You both participated in three or more short term mission trips to the Philippines with the Mabton Church. I was also a part of this first trip. Dad I was so proud to be with you when you gave your testimony. Buy accepting Gods call and participating in these trips churches have been planted and lives are continuing to be given hope and being changed.
One of the most exciting and life changing experiences was going to Israel with you in 1985. Hal Lenzie’s bible teachings brought the bible to life as we walked where Jesus walked. We studied the Bible where Jesus taught his disciples and will soon return too. I have so many great memories especially getting baptized together in the Jordan River and seeing the pictures of your smiley faces floating in the Dead Sea. I know Mom has a fear of water but you can’t sink in the Dead Sea.
One of the most important traditions is that we all come together to celebrate as a family at Christmas. How did you find the time to get a little something for each son and daughter, grandchild and great grandchild? It was awesome looking back at the pictures taken over the years and reflects on the many Christmases that were shared together in your home.
As I said in the begging you truly are my heroes and you set a lifelong example for each generation to look up to and follow.