Vintage Update- 2-6-2012- Where’s the rain?
Napa Valley has received less than a third of average rainfall so far this season. After being relieved of a drought pattern in 2010 and 2011, meteorologists are beginning to utter the dreadful ‘d’ word again. Even with a wet spring, there is little chance that we can build up California’s snow pack and replenish the supply needed for 2012.
A little bit of rain is on the way for tonight and tomorrow, but amounts are forecasted to be less than an inch in most areas. At this point, anything helps, but we could use more, and the weather is forecasted to clear shortly after this event. In fact, forecasters are predicting a drier than average February and a near average 90 day precipitation forecast.
The bonus of a drier winter has been that growers have made a lot of progress pruning. There shouldn’t be a race to finish pruning this year before budbreak occurs, even if budbreak appears early as a dry and warm winter may suggest. And weather has been nice for the people doing the pruning! Additionally, weed growth has been kept to a minimum.
Let’s hope that the forecasters are wrong and we get some significant rainfall this month and March. It would not be ideal to have another wet late spring since that makes canopy management more difficult and vines excessively vigorous and poses additional problems controlling diseases such as mildew and weeds.
The one thing that is predictable about farming is that it is unpredictable. We learn to plan ahead as best as we can, and to be flexible and react to what nature delivers.