VINTAGE 2020 was a challenging vintage with nicely concentrated wines. The COVID-19 outbreak brought labor and safety challenges that we overcame in step with increased seasonal demands in the vineyard and cellar. Luckily our vines are 6 feet apart and well suited for social-distancing, but creative solutions saved the day – we even recruited our sales team for our harvest crew.
Cool, wet conditions in spring led to a 25% lighter than average fruit set with small clusters and berries, ideal conditions for flavor intensity. Summer brought steady heat and cool nights, increasing our expectations for a fantastic vintage across the board here in the Willamette Valley. Then, in August and September, Oregon experienced one of its worst wildfire seasons in history, bringing with it worries of smoke-affected fruit. Ripening slowed until the winds shifted eastward and the skies cleared in mid-September.
The silver lining for Elk Cove is that our vines are located in the northwest corner of the Willamette Valley, where smoke effects were minimal. We will not release any wines that exhibit smoke taint, and have aggressively tested for it. We sent a great many samples to the laboratory in 2020. We’re confident that we made some fantastic wines from intensely concentrated fruit.