Grape growers in Zillah say this season is looking great - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Grape growers in Zillah say this season is looking great

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ZILLAH, Wash.-- It's been a strange summer for many farmers throughout our region. A combination of warm weather, and strong thunderstorms have done a lot of damage to local crops.
But there are some growers who say they're doing great this year. Local vineyards and grape growers.

Gail Puryear is the owner of Bonair Winery and Vineyards in Zillah.

He says while a lot of his fellow farmers got pretty beat up by the weird weather this year, his crops have actually done really well.

"Everybody I've talked to is very happy with the way the season's shaping up. This warm July has been a godsend," he said.

Puryear says the grapes are right on schedule.

The spring temperatures were a little cold, but not as bad as they thought. And the warm weather this month has been fantastic for the grapes.
"This heat spell has been just what we wanted. It's not too hot, we're in the mid 80's to mid 90's which is perfect weather for growing grapes," said Puryear.

He says even those wild storms this month didn't hit his vineyards hard.

"Fortunately they've gone west of us, east of us, south of us and north of us. Right here in the Rattlesnake Hills, we've not had any hail and one minor thunderstorm," said Puryear.

And that luck with the weather means good things not only for Yakima Valley wineries, but for wine makers across the state.

"What happens here affects everybody. We're looking at having a really good year so that affects the entire state and the entire industry," said Barbara Glover, executive director for Wine Yakima Valley.

And the good year, is great news for everybody, after two back to back seasons of cold weather.

Bonair says their grapes are almost in the veraison stage, when they start producing sugar. At that point, it's only a couple of weeks before they can start picking.