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The Independent

July 22, 2019

Harvest Weather Proves Tricky, But Not Without Treats

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Posted: Saturday, October 29, 2011 12:00 am

Those who panicked when the rains came earlier this month and picked, perhaps a wee bit prematurely, are certainly ruing that decision now, as the unseasonably mild, and unusually long Indian Summer weather has come to roost like a late bunch of Canadian Geese. What's good for the goose may well be even better for the gander, as those who gandered on an improvement in conditions are sitting pretty right now. Livermore Valley overall is in pretty good shape, compared to other areas where shatter in the spring led to poor fruit set and cool weather caused many vineyard owners to drop fruit to the point of no return on investment. The big downside is lower crop yields on the grapes everyone wants most: the benefit is that those in oversupply are now naturally mitigated. It is ever thus in the continuing circle of life. I've heard from folks in the Monterey AVA that several wineries have so many ducks in the freezer, they're not going hunting this year, leaving their grapes to others to bag. Smaller, newer labels looking for cheap fruit might get their wish. Many vineyards have already declared their crops a loss to their insurance companies. Luckily, that's not the case in Livermore.

Here in the Livermore Valley, Steven Kent reports that they are still patiently waiting for their reds to come in. Their whites are all put to bed, but the red Bordeaux varietals still linger on the vine. Warm weather and the prodigious wind over the last several days have helped to dry out the vineyards and moderately move sugar levels higher. It is anticipated that warm temperatures will continue for the next 7 to 10 days, which means Cabernet from the Home Ranch should come in over Halloween weekend. Things will be a bit later at the Ghielmetti Estate Vineyard, given its deeper soils and higher elevation. Steven and company are still expecting the majority of the Bordeaux varieties to be ready there in the first two weeks of November. At this point, there is no rain in the forecast for the early part of November, which is certainly good news.

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