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What Happened To Summer?

A couple of days ago the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle informed us Californians that our cool summer was here to stay. Like everyone else I was looking forward to the heat after a particularly wet spring. That sun never really came and now that it's August I suppose that I'll just have to wait until next year for a proper summer. All of the crops seem to be waiting for the sun too. Everyone I talk to has the same story to tell: Their backyard gardens are about a month behind. The grapes are no exception. Growers around the Valley complain that their grapes are lagging about 3 weeks behind.Unripe clusters of grapes on August 1st

At this rate, everybody jokes, they won't be ready to harvest until the December 1st. Typically, harvest starts at the end of August or the beginning of September. The concern is that they don't fully ripen before the heavy rains arrive. I've written about what can happen if that is the case in a past post. The harvest of 2009 was a similar story with late ripening grapes. It's during the challenging years that the talented winemakers stand out though, and last year Deerfield produced some spectacular wines. It is very strange that while girls are walking down the streets of Moscow in bikinis and the East Coast is seeing record highs that I find myself wishing I had brought my sweatshirt along. I have never put much faith in long term forecasts and I'm still holding out for the sun. It's only the beginning of August after all - there's plenty of time for beach weather. The seasonal pond in Kenwood Marsh is emptying on schedule so perhaps the grapes will ripen on schedule after all. The truth is that until the fruit is on the sorting table no one really knows what 2010 will be like for Northern California.


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