Heat, Vines and Restaurants

It is 5:45pm on June 22 as I write this and the temperature in the shade reads 103. This is down from an earlier temperature of 106.

Earlier today I was with a client who was visiting with a wine writer. We walked out into the vineyard. Talked for about 10 minutes. Then we all sort of collectively, but silently, acknowledged that shade was needed…Now! We simply turned together, headed back to the cars and quickly found ourselves at the restaurant. Much better.

It is far better to have this kind of extreme heat early in the growing season for a number of reasons. The water table is still higher, feeding the plants nicely during the heat spell. Later in the growing season, in August and September, this kind of heat can cause serious sunburn, shut down the plants ripening process as well as stress them to a degree far beyond what is good for them. A series of 120 eighty-five degree days from June through September, bracketed by fog in the morning and evening, would be perfect. However….

This has been a pretty odd year, weather wise. Torrential rains at the first of the year, then some unexpected early spring heat, followed by significant amounts of spring rain and now we are getting extreme mid summer heat on the second day of summer that is forcasted to last through the weekend.

No one around here has any more expectations for what will come next. The gamblers grapegrowers are just along for the ride. So far it’s been a pretty bumpy 2006.

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