Spring may have sprung officially a month ago, but Coastal growers are still casting a wary eye on winter weather popping up here and there.
“We had some nice hard frosts over the winter and good dormancy,” says Jason Smith, grower with Paraiso Vineyards in Soledad, Calif. “We had a few good rain events that helped leach the salts out of the root zone. We could have used a few more inches, but it was definitely better than 2007.”
Bud break was fairly even and consistent, according to Smith. However, in the past week, temperatures have fluctuated substantially, keeping growers on their toes for frost.
“Although it has been pretty cool, this little heat spell last week really warmed up the vines and got them looking green again,” Smith says. “For Monterey County things have been good so far. However, we never are comfortable until we get through bloom. We will hope for some nice weather through the end of April and into May to get us through bloom like it got us through bud break.”
No significant pest or disease problems have been reported in the area. Preventative mildew sprays are going out. Other disease pressure across the state seems to be relatively light as well, but showers are predicted to the north. Throughout much of the northern and central coast, onshore airflow increased late last week leading to significant cooling across much of the region. By Saturday many coastal and valley areas experienced over 30 degrees of cooling as compared to the previous weekend.
“At this point we are very pleased, but our cold climate can always bring us surprises,” Smith says.