AUGUST 26, 2014, Prosser, WA – The Mercer family, the first to plant vinifera in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills in 1972 and one of the AVA’s largest growers with 2000 acres of vineyards, is predicting the start of its harvest on Monday, September 1 – a full week ahead of last year. This has been the hottest year on record in the Horse Heaven Hills with 100 more growing degree-days than in 2013. This year, the Mercer family will harvest 5500 tons of fruit, 475 tons of which will go to the Mercer Wine Estates brand; the remainder will go to vineyard and custom crush clients.
Mercer President, and fourth generation farmer, Rob Mercer, is enthusiastic about the early start. According to Mercer, “Harvesting early will give us the opportunity to pick at premium quality levels sooner, giving us more time with our winemaking efforts with little to no rush. It has been a steadily warm season so far, and we are anticipating an excellent crush.”
Winemaker, Jessica Munnell, looks forward to the early start in order to preserve natural acidity, ripe flavors and structured tannins in the fruit. Munnell comments, “In the cellar, we will be cautious with our red fermentations to avoid over extraction. We have a terrific team in place that is ready for everything harvest might bring.” Munnell works with a 12-member team.
This year, Mercer has added over 400 acres to its vineyard holdings in the Horse Heaven Hills. To accommodate planned future expansion, Mercer has just completed construction on an 8500 square foot barrel room featuring space for 2600 barrels.
About Mercer Wine Estates
The Mercer family farming tradition spans five generations. The Mercers have been actively managing the same property in Washington since 1886, first raising row crops and livestock, and today overseeing 2000 acres of vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA. The family involvement in the wine industry began in 1972 when Don and Linda Mercer were the first to plant wine grapes in the Horse Heaven Hills after being encouraged by Washington wine industry icon, Dr. Walter Clore. In 2005, Rob and Brenda Mercer founded Mercer Wine Estates, which includes three tiers of estate wines plus a single label dedicated solely to charity: Mercer Estates, Mercer Estates Reserve, Mercer Canyons and Eagle & Plow. The Mercers are known throughout eastern Washington for their stewardship of the land, conservation efforts, patriotism and continued contributions to the community.