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Cool, Wet Weather Bad & Good For Foothill Vineyards

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(Auburn, CA)
Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Phil Maddux is the owner of Lone Buffalo Vineyards in Auburn.  He says last year's cool, wet start to summer delayed wine grape harvests in the Sierra Nevada Foothills about three weeks. 

"It gave us what they normally get closer to the coast every year, which is a longer, extended growing season."

In other words, the fruit ripens more slowly and more evenly.  There's less fluctuation of sugar and acid in the grapes caused by long hot days.  And that leads to a better flavor. 
But if harvest is delayed too long, problems can occur.
"The danger you always have when you delay harvest is that it runs over into the fall and it starts raining during harvest." 
Rain during harvest time can cause bunch rot, a fungal disease that grows in tight grape clusters like zinfandel. 
But as long as the weather heats up in July and August, Maddux says the grapes should make fine wine. 
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