The 2014 Arizona wine grape harvest is only a few weeks away and most growers are expecting higher yields, depending on the area.

Vineyards lower elevations including Charron Vineyards in Vail, Ariz., located southeast of Tucson in south central Arizona, will begin harvesting grapes in mid-August. The higher elevation vineyards will pick fruit into October.

“The 2014 crop looks slightly larger than last year – our largest to date,” said Kent Callaghan, Callaghan Vineyards winemaker, Elgin, Ariz.

Callaghan’s harvest last year was “set and late but (with) great quality potential.”

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Ann Roncone, Lightning Ridge Cellars owner and winemaker in Elgin, added, “If we get through monsoon season without any damage, this will be a bumper crop - no question.”

Roncone says the closest year with this much fruit was 2010 tied to heavier rain and snow during the 2009-2010 winter.

“Surprisingly, this year’s distinctly mild winter hasn’t made for particularly early bud break and in terms of ripening (but), the crop is about where it should be this time of year.” 

Curt Dunham, owner and winemaker of Lawrence Dunham Vineyards specializes in Rhone varietal production at 5,000-ffet-in-elevation in the Chiricahua Mountain foothills in southeastern Arizona.

“With bud break coming about two weeks early, we were preparing for the potential for an early harvest,” Dunham said. “Now possibly due to a relatively cool month of May, we don’t really anticipate an early harvest happening right now as the grapes look about right on schedule.”

He expects to pick white grapes in late August and red grapes in mid-September. Dunham’s grapes appear smaller than last year but with a good fruit set.

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Flying Leap Vineyards owner Mark Beres said, “Following an unusually mild winter, our vines at our properties in the Kansas Settlement in Cochise County broke buds in mid-March, leading with Sangiovese as always.”

Usually, vines at the estate vineyard break bud 4-6 weeks after the Kansas Settlement vineyards, and 2014 was consistent with that trend.