Learning to Grow Grapes in the Puget Sound AVA
Western Washington is now hitting the radar screen as a plausible place to grow wine grapes. See recent Seattle Times article on Western Washington’s emerging wine grapes The first Puget Sound grape crops appeared around 1825 at Fort Vancouver. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Seattle realtor Charles Somers and his son C. W. “Bill” Somers started St. Charles Winery on Stretch Island.
Since the summer I’ve been immersed in learning how to grow Puget Sound AVA wine grapes. I took on 50 Pinot Gris vines planted by Mike Lempriere and Beth Schoenberg, owners, winemaker and grape growers for Perennial Vintners on Bainbridge Island. My job was to baby sit these vines, thin the leafs, watch for powdery mildew, spray at night by flashlight, talk to the grapes when needed, test for sugars and acidity and generally guide the grapes to their fate of harvest and crushia! The grapes have been harvested, crushed and they are now fermenting their way to great 2009 Puget Sound AVA Pinot Gris Wine!