N. California: Weather interfering with grape pollination

on 02/06/11 at 12:44 pm

Wine

Grape growers are watching the weather reports with dread.

The late-season downpour hitting Northern California is threatening to devastate this year’s grape crop, making it potentially the third weather event in the last four years to wreak havoc on vineyards.

“It’s causing us a lot of frustration,” said Steve Hill, general manager of Durell Vineyard in Sonoma.

Most vineyards across Sonoma County are now in some stage of bloom, a process where plants engage in the delicate dance of self-pollination in order to fertilize the eggs that will become grapes.

Rainfall in June, which forecasters predict could set a new record, is expected to lower the amount of grapes that vineyards produce, potentially costing Sonoma County growers tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue at a time the industry continues to suffer economically.

“In reality, we are taking a loss every time these storms come in,” said Steve Thomas, director of vineyard operations at Kunde Winery. “This crop is definitely getting smaller.”

{Full story via Press Democrat}

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