Napa growers say 2011 harvest to be late, light
Late-season rains and mild summer temperatures have Napa Valley grape growers anticipating an even-ripening crop but a light-than-normal harvest.
A release Thursday from Napa Valley Grapegrowers (courtesy of Alison Stout at Glodow Nead Communications in San Francisco) said the even temperatures and the recent moisture means growers this year can let the grapes hang longer and achieve the full-ripening otherwise cut short by hotter and/or drier growing conditions.
“We have seen a steady growing season allowing for even ripening over the last few weeks,” said Matt Lamborn of Lamborn Family Vineyards and owner of Pacific Geodata, a mapping and analysis technology company which uses weather data from previous years to analyze and illustrate weather trends and comparisons from year to year.
Bill Hanna of Hanna Vineyards in Sonoma County said the later than usual harvest is due in part to late-spring rains arriving just as bud break was starting and vines were blooming.
While rain during bud-break can lead to mildew, non-pollination and other problems, growers this year were able to address those challenges, Hanna said.
Also, late-season rains brought needed moisture to carry the vines through the summer.
“We are blessed to be in a region that affords us the opportunity to be innovative with technology. It is extremely important to be able to monitor the various microclimates in the Valley in order to be proactive instead of reactive,” said grower Paul Goldberg of Rutherford Vista Vineyards.
According to the release, Goldberg uses a remote-control irrigation system to monitor every aspect of irrigation including well levels, water pressure, soil moisture and more. Changes in the system or water needs are sent to Goldberg via his cell phone, allowing him to respond as soon as necessary.
Pinot noir and chardonnay (sparkling wine) have wrapped up harvest with sauvignon blanc expected next. Many growers are reporting harvest starting 10 days to two weeks later than last year with the potential for a lighter-than-normal harvest.