It’s one of those seasons when PCAs could almost have played hooky at the beach and no one would have been the wiser.

“I keep wondering what I’m missing,” says Gary Osteen, independent PCA at Bakersfield. “It’s almost unnerving — you walk out into the vineyard looking for something and there’s very little there. We’re just now starting to see some grape mealybug crawlers showing up on table grapes in the Delano area. Other than that, it’s extremely quiet; we haven’t even sprayed for mites or leafhoppers for the most part.”

Even disease pressure has been a snoozer in the Delano area this year.

“We’ve had very little powdery mildew pressure,” Osteen says. “I had some vineyards where we never even dusted with sulfur. Because pressure was so light, we were able to wait and use fungicides and stretch intervals by as much as 18 to 21 days. The reduced spraying has been easier on the beneficials, so maybe that’s another reason we haven’t had to treat for mites or leafhoppers.”