From planting to growing to pruning to harvesting, making high-quality Washington wine is a labor of love that culminates in the fall. We’re in the thick of it here at Baer Winery and are looking forward to sharing our 2019 vintage with you in the years to come.
Stillwater Creek Vineyard
A Baer Winery harvest starts in the Columbia Valley at Stillwater Creek Vineyard, a 235-acre site on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills. This vineyard was planted in 2000 on a steep, south-facing slope with one of the most diverse clone selections in Washington State. Stillwater Creek’s fractured rock and extreme southern exposure are ideal for reds, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. The Chardonnay we harvest for our Shard is planted on a mixture of fractured rock and areas of fine, sandy loam. Overall, the vineyard is a mix of 80% red grapes and 20% white grapes. This year, we took our initial trip to Stillwater Creek Vineyard at the end of August and brought in our first pick to Woodinville in early September.
Production in Woodinville at Baer Winery
We’re lucky here in Woodinville to have the office of our winemaker, Erica Orr, right next door, as well as a full production and storage facility in our backyard. And when we say backyard, we mean directly connected to our tasting room. This allows us to share our process with visitors, as well as keep it all close to home. Everything from crush and destemming to pump-overs and barrelling down is led by Erica at Baer Winery. Right now, in October, reds are starting to come in and the fun has just begun! So far, the 2019 harvest has been plentiful and we are optimistic about this vintage. We might even get creative with this fruit, so stay tuned for some exciting future releases.
Update from Winemaker Erica Orr
Erica Orr is our consulting winemaker who takes the lead on choosing when to pick the fruit. Everything matters from how early in the harvest season the fruit is picked to the time of day it’s taken off the vine. Erica strives to make those decisions based on her final vision for what she wants Baer wines to smell and taste like while also respecting the quality of the fruit.
“At this point in the season, we have all the Chardonnay for Shard picked and happily fermenting in the drum,” says Orr. “We have also picked all of our Merlot with two of the lots already pressed off and in barrels about to be inoculated for malolactic fermentation next week.” This year, Orr is very content with the Merlot. “The third Merlot lot is still fermenting on skins right now. So far, I am happy with both the flavors and the juice chemistry, which doesn’t happen every year.”
We were the first to pick Merlot out of Stillwater Creek Vineyard this year. We can’t wait to see what this means for the 2019 vintage, and are excited about the wines that will be produced from this beautiful fruit! Our Malbec and the first of the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignons have been destemmed and we are officially at the halfway point in the heart of October. We still have more Cabernet Sauvignon and the fan-favorite Cabernet Franc hanging on the vine and are looking forward to picking those when they are ready later this month.
There’s still time to see the Baer Winery production team in action! Visit us on Saturdays or Sundays throughout harvest and you might catch a glimpse of what goes into making your Baer favorites. Cheers to 2019 wines!