The impact of the frost was also mixed for Lake County wine grape growers.
“We were hit pretty hard,” says Shannon Gunier, executive director of Lake County Winegrape Growers. “We don't know the extent of the damage yet — it could be as high as 20 percent, but we need to wait to see if there is new growth.”
Clay Shannon, owner of Shannon Ridge Vineyards at Clearlake Oaks, Calif., says, “We had 15 percent to 20 percent damage.” Their vineyards are situated at altitudes from 2,100 to 2,400 feet overlooking Clear Lake.
As with other growers in the area, water doesn’t appear to be a particular concern at this point. “My reservoirs are full,” Shannon says.
Gunier says that’s the situation for most growers. “Water is not an issue. The reservoirs on most properties are full, and with proper water management, we think we are in good shape.”
Even the water used for frost prevention hasn’t necessarily tapped the area’s reserves.
“I can only speak for Snows Lake, but water used for frost didn’t significantly impact availability for the irrigation season,” says John Adriance, chief operating officer with Snows Lake Vineyard at Lower Lake, Calif. “But this will be a challenging season due to two successive less-than-normal rainfall years. With responsible and thoughtful water management practices, however, sufficient water is available for the growing season.”