We have an early bud break
With the warm weather days of January, February and March, this was not unexpected. We have reports of bud break in several wine regions of California. Bud break is usually three to four weeks later than this date. We have reports via Twitter of bud break in Russian River Valley, St. Helena, Calistoga, Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley, Spring Mountain and other wine regions. What does this mean for vintners? For starters, there is a greater risk of frost damage. The earlier the bud break, the greater the odds that there will be a few frosty nights in the coming weeks of March and early April. Mother Nature is in control of night time temperatures. An early bud break means an early bloom. High winds or rains could damage the fruit potential. If the unseasonably warm weather continues, it will be a shortened growing season. That means less hang time for the grape clusters and a different taste component to the wine. Time will tell, but for now we can expect to see continued bud break in all wine areas of California. For wine growers and winemakers, bud break signals the start of a new growing season. Fasten your seat belts, this is going to be interesting!