Dry spell a boon for Washington wine grapes

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

KING5.com

Posted on September 3, 2012 at 7:10 PM

CONCRETE, Wash. -  Dan Costanti loves this dry weather.  Monday marks the 43rd day in a row at Sea-Tac with no measureable rain.  While some places around the state, including Concrete, have seen a shower or two, Costanti said it’s had little impact.

“Dry is good,” he said.

Why does Costanti love dry weather in August and September?  Because he is part owner in a small vineyard named Challenger Ridge.  And dry weather puts his Pinot Noir vines under some stress - a good stress that tends to boost the sugar content of the grapes and that could result in a very good vintage.

Just the opposite was happening early in the season.  It rained - a lot.  June and July were very wet, and that’s not good for the grapes.  Some bunches have a mix of large grapes and tiny ones, a sign of that wet influence. But since things finally changed over in late July, the season has improved dramatically for Challenger Ridge.

“There’s plenty of fruit, because of the good growing season we’ve experienced so far,” said Costanti.

But the season isn’t over yet, and it’s running about two weeks behind because of that wet start.

“September, October are critical to where we want to be,” said Costanti.
 

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