OK, so I've been growing grapes for over ten years now, and this morning I had an experience unlike any I have ever had in a vineyard.....and can you keep your mind out of the gutter?
At 6:00 AM I was out in the early daylight looking at a thermometer. It started around 31F, and eventually bottomed out at 28.8F. I wasn't sure what to think. Allegro has never been totally nuked before.
This year started out so early, with temperatures in the high 80s in early April. We broke buds on our Chardonnay on April 7th, with the Cab following a few days later. Totally crazy, totally messed up. Don't tell me that climate change isn't real, because I'm living it in 2010.
I tried to explain to my boys what the early budbreak was all about. I compared it to being in a race and trying to jump the gun. If you get caught, you're disqualified and and out of the race. But, if you time it perfectly, you have a jump on the rest of the field. And that's the way I felt up until this morning.
Standing out in the lowest couple of rows of the Cab, I felt DQ'ed. Just waiting for the starter's gun to go off for a second time. Waiting for the other shoe to drop.
A few hours later I went back out and started finding leaves that were crumpled up and blackened. But after lunch he damage hadn't spread much further. Our lower rows had intermittent injuries, but for the most part I think we're ok.
Of course, tonight could be a repeat of the same. Only difference is that I plan to put a fungicide spray on the vineyard, for two reasons: a) it's going to rain soon, and b) the air is supposed to be still, and having my sprayer blowing things around out there has to help a little. And every little bit counts.