As farmers we live and die by the weather, in fact I get a wine industry weather report sent to me every day via email so I can plan my week. Grapevines need moisture in the winter and fall to replenish the soil. They need to be warm in the spring and hot, but not to hot, in the summer and fall. Pinot Noir likes the range of temperatures in the days and nights to be large to develop wonderful flavors.
This brings me to this post on rainfall. Sebastopol (in Sonoma County) for 2013 has had only 8.1 inches of rain as of mid-December (I hope it rains during the holidays). Normally we get 36.3 inches of rain, with most of it coming in the winter and spring to recharge the soil and fill the aquifers. . If we don’t get much rain this winter I think the vines will suffer and we will get a smaller crop for 2014. Global climate change, El Nino, who knows…I know I may regret saying this as I need time to get ready for the growing season and prune in the spring…but I sure wish it would rain a lot this winter. Sure we can irrigate, but it is not the same.