YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) -- Wine grape growers in central Washington say their harvest is off to an early start.

The region experienced warm, dry weather throughout the summer and into September, which pushed the harvest ahead of schedule in some areas.

Dick Boushey of Boushey Vineyards near Prosser says harvest there is probably a week ahead of last year. Bob Bertheau of Chateau Ste. Michelle says workers at Cold Creek Vineyard can hardly pick cabernet and merlot grapes fast enough to keep up with the ripening pace.

Several growers say this year's harvest is at about the halfway point.

Copyright 2009 The AP.

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