March 21, 2012 — To compound their problems with grape shortages, California winemakers must now be wary of low rain potentially decreasing their grape reserves, according to the Western Farm Press.

In a meeting for grape growers presented by the San Joaquin Valley Winegrowers Association and California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance in Parlier, Ca., experts discussed possible harmful effects of dry weather on crops and offered advice about ensuring water supplies if crops were sufficient.

Consultant Ron Brase warned that the dry fall and winter seasons could mean erratic bud break and an increased chance of freezing, according to the article. Deborah Miller, president and owner Deerpoint Group Inc. in Fresno, advised that grape growers should apply more water to those vines affected by the lack of rain said. She also cautioned against adding too much nitrogen to soil. Although doing so can increase growth, it creates more plants and thus a higher demand for water.

From Western Farm Press:

Brase, president of AgQuest Consulting Inc. in Fresno, said it’s important growers assess the moisture levels in their vineyards with instruments that could include hand probes and augers.
‘Vineyards will likely need irrigations much earlier than normal,’ he said.”


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