As everyone knows farmers worry a lot about the weather…so here goes mine. California is in its 4th year of drought. Last year we finished with a little over half the normal rainfall and this rainy season is almost over and we are in the same shape as last year…unless we get a lot of rain in March and April.
What does that mean for us here in Russian River Valley? Well, last year bud break was March 11th with an early harvest of September 2nd. We had bud break February 25th this year, 2 weeks ahead of last year!
Why this is bad:
– The sooner bud break, the more chance of a heavy frost damages the shoots and ruins the crop. Normally we worry until 4/15.
– If all the other milestones are early, we will harvest mid-August. With an early harvest the grapes will not mature correctly leading to poorer phenolics.
– The chance of rain ruining fruit set is greater.
But what can you do but enjoy the nice weather and hope for a cool summer.