As most of you know, it’s been HOT in the Santa Ynez Valley the last couple of days, peaking at about 110 degrees on Monday afternoon! These temperatures are unlike any this Valley has seen during harvest for as long as anyone I could find ever remembered – and it has had an effect on the vines.
When vines experience extreme heat, a few things usually happen – the grapes begin to dehydrate and shrivel a bit and the leaves begin to ‘shut down’ and change colors. From driving around yesterday, it was apparent that both of these are happening, though not consistently across the board.
It was quite clear that those blocks where crop levels are light were more easily affected by the current heat wave – more shrivel was evident and a general yellowing of leaves was clearly visible in consistent patterns. In many cases, some berries were sunburned and in extreme cases, a small amount of berries had actually become like raisins.
In many cases in our area, though, crop levels are fairly substantial, and in the current scenario, that’s a good thing. These blocks rode out the heat wave nicely, with grapes certainly dehydrating a bit and finally moving sugar levels to levels closer to where we’d expect them at this time. But the canopies on these blocks are still green and quite healthy looking, which to us, is an indication that we are still in store for a great, yet very hectic, October!
And as far as the signs that Harvest are here – bee stings are becoming all too common, including a sting I received on my forehead on Monday! And the wild pigs have been wreaking havoc on the lawns here at Fess Parker Winery, coming down at night and literally turning over yards and yards of grass in search of grub . . .