In the searing heat of summer comes the proclamation that this grape season has been one of the coolest on record.

This is from Matt Angell, a Thompson Seedless grower in Merced County, Calif.

Angell is also vice president of sales with Emeryville-based PureSense – a company that specializes in soil moisture analysis and environmental monitoring.

“Even though we’ve had spikes in temperatures at times, it hasn’t stayed consistently hot,” he says. “I think the problem has been the perception that it’s hot and that’s created a lot of tension. A lot of us are short on water. The grasses dried up quickly in early spring due to a shortage of water as opposed to heat.”

In spite of the water situation, the crop is looking very good, according to Angell. “This is one of the best crops we’ve ever set,” he says. “It really puts a positive twist on the whole season and one that growers could use right now.

“In Merced, we have a huge crop load,” Angell says. “I think a lot of growers are actually putting on too much water because of the perception that it’s hot and dry. The real issue will be making sure we keep moisture in the permanent crops late in the season so we can hold on to the determinate buds for next year’s crop.”