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Temecula Valley Vineyards See Early Budbreak

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Despite the abnormally wet December and SNOW (!) in January, winter just didn’t last long enough in Temecula Valley’s wine country to keep spring at bay.

“We thought last year was early”, said Steve Andrews, Oak Mountain Winery’s owner and winemaker, “but we’re already seeing some “pushing” on our hillside vineyards”.  And “pushing” leads to budbreak, which is exactly what JD Harkey, of Drake Enterprises, a local farm management company, reported today.  JD shared the photo above, showing actual bud- break on a head-pruned Zinfandel vine he saw just this morning.

“It’s the earliest budbreak I’ve ever seen”, said Harkey.  “It’s going to be an interesting harvest!”

While delaying pruning as long as possible – sometimes into January and early February – often results in later budbreak, this year is proving challenging for local vineyard managers.  An early budbreak can be devastating to a vineyard if a late spring frost comes along, particularly if the buds have begun to flower, which is the pre-cursor to fruit set.

We were lucky last year, which was also a record breaker for early bud break here in Temecula.  We were thankful for a nice, long and temperate spring season that allowed the fruit to develop fully and evenly throughout the valley.  And while we all know that Mother Nature does what she wills, we’re hoping she slows things down a bit.  We want more winter!

 

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