Late Season Rain to Lessen Vineyards’ Yield, but Elevate Wine Quality

Many vineyards have seen some concern this growing season as cool, late-season rain during blooming has led to grapes being shattered in the process or failing to develop properly. Workers have had their hands full with hedging and removing leaves and laterals from vines in order to counter the weather. This means that gross quantity of product is expected to be less than normal, but quality should be exceptional.

Shattering of the stock occurred with the rain, which inhibited the fertilization of many flowers and adversely affected the ever-important conversion from ovary to berry. Quality, however, does not seem to be an issue. Jim Verhey, owner of Big Ranch Vineyards and board president of Napa Valley Grapegrowers, comments, “We have no reason not to expect that this is going to be an excellent quality year.”

Beckstoffer Vineyards manager Randy Heinzen expresses that the weather and consequent shattering could be a defining factor of the 2011 vintage. He explains, “While it is likely a down year in terms of production, I’ll take the rain events in June if it means we can have a dry, pleasant, even-paced harvest this year.”

Regardless of quality, which some growers are still hesitant to estimate, the bottom line of overall harvest is already known to be less than usual. Vic Motto, chief executive officer of Global Wine Partners LLC in St. Helena, says that it is still too early to predict the weather’s exact affect on the season’s yield, but commented, “We do know that it’s going to be less. What we don’t know is how much less.”

[Source: Napa Valley Register]