Heat, fire, drought and water politics are definitely getting growers’ attention across much of the state. “The heat was brutal here last week,” says Rhonda Smith, Sonoma County Farm Advisor, “but I suspect that particular wave did not produce any negative effects on vines. The heat in May did reduce set in some locations since it arrived at bloom.”
“As long as people have water they can deal with the heat at this point in the vineyard development,” says Karen Ross, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG). “It’s too early to know if fires will impact grape flavor development. It depends on the proximity of fires to vineyards; how long the skins are exposed to smoke and soot; stage in development, etc. Right now, no one sees it impacting the grape crop, unless the fire takes the vineyard, which has not happened yet.”
The good news is that disease is almost non-existent. “The disease pressure has been low due to the heat,” Smith says.
Mealybugs could be a different story, however, “People are on the lookout for both grape mealybug and vine mealybug,” Smith says.