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1996 vintage guide for Washington State Merlot

Washington 1996: Drink now

A February freeze and cool weather during bud set halved the crop in many sites

Weather Conditions

A rather harsh winter in Washington followed by cool temperatures extended into the early growing season. A week-long freeze in February and cool conditions during the crucial time of set reduced the crop by 50-60 per cent in many sites. Bud-break along with flowering and set were delayed about two weeks in the Columbia Valley, and in Walla Walla set was only a few days later than normal. However, as the season progressed, there were enough warm dry weeks in July and August to ripen the fruit which remained two weeks behind normal. September finally gave daytime temperature in the 80s and the grapes ripened smoothly and experienced a longer hang time than usual. The berries were small, and the overall crop was undersized.

Best Appellations

See best producers

Best Producers

Hogue Reserve, Chateau Ste. Michelle, L’Ecole No 41, Barnard Griffin Reserve, Columbia Crest Estate, Waterbrook, Andrew Will

Quick Link Washington Travel Guide

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