Let Us Pray

No matter what business you are in, at some point your incomplete control of circumstances forces you to simply step back and let the chips fall as they may. But good God, when it comes to grape growing, or any farming for that matter, the sheer multitude of chips you have to let fall could fill a Vegas casino.

While in New Orleans these past few days I got a number of reports from friends, the news, clients and family that the rain was falling very hard in both Sonoma and Napa. This is not the best time to be getting rain. Flowering is just beginning for early ripening varietals like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. If the pollination that comes with flowering is hampered by the rain you can get a seriously reduced crop. At to this the prospect of mildew if the rain is not followed by warm weather and /or a good stiff breeze and you begin to understand why ancient farming societies used to pray to weather gods.

Well, here is the bad news…it looks like there is more rain coming next week.

By then flowering will be  full steam ahead in many vineyards and the crop damage,has the potential to be far worse than anything that happened around here the past few days.

Now some would say that a smaller crop would not be a bad thing for the wine market by helping to keep prices up for both growers’ grapes and wineries’ wines. But I’m betting that the best growers are hoping for an average to an above average crop this year. They see the industry doing well, exports growing and an economy that has stabilized and started to move a bit.

Which all leads me to one conclusion: You are likely to be seeing deities of all sorts being praised in the coming days.

Posted In: Wine Business


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