After a wonderful rainy season, many growers are curious what the coming season is going to be like. Well they are not alone! We all wish we had a crystal ball to tell us the truth. I still haven’t found a crystal ball that doesn’t end up growing a “Pinocchio nose.” Instead I look at history and our knowledge of science to give a glimpse of what the season might have in store.

Going in chronological order, I think back to last spring when plant cells were deciding to be clusters or not and the weather was great for cluster primordia development. Flash forward to the present day and spring weather outlooks are pointing towards fairly consistent warming trends and an even bud break.

Looking forward, a few more storms will likely roll in bringing the risk of frost on their way out. Our soils will still be well moistened by the bountiful winter rains. Spring shoot growth will likely be fast, strong, and hard to restrict. The canopies will get dense quickly and if the storms keep coming powdery mildew will again be a big battle.

If soils remain wet through cluster elongation periods we could see generally large, tight clusters and the possibility of higher summer rot incidence than the past several years of drought have presented. Long term weather outlooks are pointing towards another summer of record setting heat events. Thankfully growers with surface water delivery systems should see plenty of water running through the canals.

In summary, it’s going to be another year of untraditional weather, interesting pest challenges, but surely some darn good grapes will come out of it. I wish you the best of luck getting the season started.   P.S.— remember the powdery mildew game has already started. Get at it early and get at it hard.   Our team is here to assist you – whether it’s WineGrape sourcing, Premium Bulk Wine or Private Label. Agajanian Vineyards & Wine Company is here to help your business succeed.

Patrick Tachella – Director of Viticulture