Our non-winter is over….our warmest and driest on record. Bud break has begun 10-12 days earlier than 2013.
The longer growing season gives grapes more time to evolve flavors. But there are negatives. With early bud break, Scott Harvey Wines’ winemaker needs to be alert for frost conditions. The other morning we woke to the sound of wind machines and sprinklers–two different methods of frost control. The threat will continue until mid-May. The wind machines protect against frost by mixing the warmer, higher air with the colder air on the ground. Sprinklers work by putting a layer of water on the vine, which freezes. When water freezes, it releases energy, which is just enough to keep the vine from freezing. As long as you keep adding a new layer of water and it freezes the vine underneath all that ice keeps from freezing. You keep the sprinklers on until the sun comes up, warming everything up until all the ice melts off.
Scott likes the wines produced from early bud break years, as long as we get through the frost season without any losses to the crop. The longer growing time creates more delicate flavors, producing wines with a more layered character.