Vintage 2015 Update: Napa and New York

I’m in Napa this week checking in on the rapidly progressing vintage 2015. After one serious frost event this season a couple of weeks ago the vintage seems to be off to an otherwise not so bad start. Right now the shoots are between 10-14″ long and most varieties are blooming with the one exception of Cabernet which is just getting started. There was a bit of rain late in April which threatened to make trouble however it didn’t last very long (both fortunately and unfortunately depending on if your greatest worry is the crop or the drought). A quick run up into the 90s on Friday surprised everyone and those that had sprayed sulfur right before May have had some burning due to the quick heat spike. The weather today is a normal Bay Area foggy morning that will clear up to a sunny and warm afternoon, a trend with should continue for the foreseeable future. The vintage is currently running ahead due to an early bud break similar to last year. By all accounts Napa seems to be ok for water this year just getting enough rain this past season to keep the wolf from the door so to speak. While I’m not watching any particular vineyard out here now, I plan to keep you updated on the vintage progress.

In New York, we haven’t hit bud break yet. The trees have started blooming in earnest putting everyone on allergy high alert. We are seeing buds swelling now so we start to hope for minimal frost after the tough winter. Many growers are leaving extra buds to compensates for the winter damage however many of the Finger Lakes growers that I’ve spoken with say their vinifera came through fine. In some cases the snow pack was so high it reached the fruit zone and provided additional temperature moderation to protect the graft, trunks and buds. The weather has been warm with softly cool nights in the high 40s and low 50s. Hopefully that trend continues but overall we are behind about a week.

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