Problems in the Vineyard
El Niño has certainly made its mark on the 1998 vintage with its longer than normal, colder than usual, and wetter than ever spring. Frost has not usually been a significant problem at our high altitude either, until El Niño. All of these factors contributed to shatter and shot berries, leaving us with a dramatic decrease of fruit on our vines. We are estimating this year’s harvest to yield about 1/2 the grapes of previous years.
It’s also going to be a very late harvest this year. It is the first full week in October and still no grapes have been harvested at JARVIS. Due to our nice cool breezes from the Bay Area we usually do harvest 2-3 weeks later than the rest of the valley, but even so, we are usually heavy into the harvest process by this time.
This leaves us very concerned about the weather as we wait for the grapes to reach our target sugar level for picking. If we get rain or cold weather in the next few weeks we could lose even more fruit.