2022 Harvest Q & A with Long Shadows’ Winemaker Gilles Nicault

Q: Does this vintage compare with any other Columbia Valley vintages that you've worked?

A: The exciting thing about winemaking is that each vintage is different, but 2022 is reminiscent in my mind of the cooler vintages of both 2010 and 2011. Standout Long Shadows wines from the 2010 vintage were Saggi, our Sangiovese blend, and Feather our Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, which scored 92 and 94 points respectively with Wine Advocate.

(Pro tip: Both bottles are still available on our website as Library selections for our Key Club members, attesting to the exquisite aging potential of each wine).

Q: What are the characteristics of this vintage?

A: The 2022 vintage in Columbia Valley was marked by a cool, wet spring followed by a dry, warm summer with heat spikes peaking in August as temperatures rose over 100 degrees often for days in a row. When our vineyard temperatures get too hot the vines shut down, which quickly led to our growing season being extended by an additional three weeks.

Q: Is there any varietal that does particularly well in a vintage like this?

A: In general, varietals that ripen on the early side enjoy a better chance of having good physiological maturity. If October holds well weather-wise, all varietals have a chance to really excel as more moderate growing conditions aid phenolic maturity.

Q: Anything new or different that you're excited about with this vintage?

A: The challenge with winemaking is that we are only given one shot a year to make the best wines possible. Although nerve wrecking, it is also exhilarating because truly every vintage is new and different.

Q: Are there any new tools or techniques that you're using this year?

A: Since there’s no recipe to winemaking, and we don’t know everything that we are going to see during the 2022 harvest, and beyond in the cellar, we’ll have to answer this question of new tools or new techniques at the end of the process. Sincerely.

Q: Any new staff or interns (or returning harvest crew) that you're excited about this season?

A: Absolutely, I am very excited about Michelle Inman returning this year, as a part of our cellar team. She is a real asset to our operation.

Q: What is your favorite part of the harvest season?

A: Creation. The closure of a growing season and the birth of a wine which will lead to enjoyment for years to come.

Q: What music do you listen to in the cellar? Is there a certain vibe?

A: We listen to all kinds of music varieties, keeping it diverse, eclectic and (hopefully) pleasing for all! Everyone on the cellar crew gets a chance to be the DJ.

Q: What is your favorite crew meal?

A: Hmmm… Actually, it is rare that we have the opportunity to share a crew meal together during harvest (we save that for our end-of-harvest team celebration), but if we do, simple things like grilling hamburgers on the fly is always a welcome treat.

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