The 2015 growing season was our earliest bud break and veraison on record, and 2016 has been following in its footsteps. We may be a little earlier than last year with veraison on the white varietals, but we seem to be a little later with the red varietals so far. This is likely due to the cooler July weather we experienced this year versus July 2015 temps. In 2015, we had no breaks from the hot, dry, windy weather. In 2016 we had a much cooler July weather pattern, along with a number of thunder showers.
I was not sure how the cooler July would affect the grapes compared to 2015. Even though the weather is cooler this year, the canopy is stronger and photosynthesis is more efficient with temps in the 80’s to low 90’s as opposed to the upper 90’s and 100’s last year. We will have to wait for the final data, but it looks like full veraison in many of the red varietals could be a week or more behind last year.
One of the benefits to what we are seeing, if it stays this way, is a separation in the ripening of whites and reds. I am sure this will be disappointing to those winemakers that want everything coming in at the same time.
The canopies are looking great. Leaf color is good, and grape exposure is excellent. If everything keeps going as it is, I have high hopes for excellent quality fruit this year, with better hang times than last year. We will see. Have a look for yourself.