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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Now it's too hot for the grapes

This is not the year to be a grape grower if you have a bad heart.

The summer has been unseasonably cool and moist in the coastal regions of California (where most of the premium grapes come from). Growers have tried to fix this by removing canopy (the leaves covering the grape clusters) to maximize sun exposure. This helps ripen and prevent rot.

Then a few days ago the temps. shot up--way up to record highs. This only lasted a couple days, but the damage was done. The grapes clusters open to the full force of the sun are turning to raisins.

So there has been crop loss this year from purposely dropping fruit to help ripen the rest, from mold, and now from raisining. The mold problem is primarily in the cooler regions--Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros appellations.

Does this mean 2010 will be a substandard year for wine? Not necessarily. First, not all growing regions are affected equally. Second, for those that pick selectively, as do most premium growers, there is still plenty of good fruit. It depends on what else Mother Nature has in store for us, but she has been a bit of a bitch so far.

For more info see:

Previous blog posts "The 2010 grape growing season so far" (July 27th)  and "2010 grape growing season update" (August 6th)

Local news article