FARMING PARTNER(S): H.T. Rea
CROPS GROWN: JET, HRW Wheat; 102, SWW Wheat
CERTS & ATTRIBUTES: Salmon-Safe Certified; Dry Farmed
HARVESTED: AUGUST 2, 2016
Our 2016 vintage malting wheat was grown in the foothills of the Walla Walla Valley by Nathan and Dennis Rea of H.T. Rea Farming. Rolling into harvest, we worked with the Rea family to select the highest quality, single variety, soft white and hard red wheat from roughly 2000 dryland acres. The fields we selected range from 1500 to 1800 feet in elevation, with ample silt-loam soils and an average annual precipitation of over 20 inches.
From early-October seeding in 2015 to the end of June, location, care, and weather set up to produce an abundance of high quality malting wheat. But in the words of Yogi Berra, "it ain't over 'till it's over." In early July, as the wheat stood cured in the fields, the area received two saturating rainstorms separated by a week of dry weather. Too many wetting-drying cycles like this and grain quality is lost to "pre-harvest germination." We planned for the worst and hoped for the best as the rains came down.
Hope provides. The awned grain varieties shed much of the water and a high pressure system quickly cleared the way for a bone dry harvest, just a couple weeks behind schedule. Falling number tests (used to measure pre-harvest germination) showed that our selected winter wheat varieties hung onto their premium quality.
When malting through this vintage, we aim to produce stand-alone wheat malts that celebrate the deep rooted wheat production history of the Walla Walla Valley. Both varieties offer outstanding plumpness and comparatively low protein levels for their class, which bodes well for their yield in the brewhouse.