2018 Vintage West Coast Weather Thread

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R M Kriete
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#1 Post by R M Kriete » January 1st, 2018, 11:24 am

Happy New Year. Let's get the 2018 thread going

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#2 Post by Joe Webb » January 1st, 2018, 3:49 pm

No significant rain in the 10 day forecast is not what were hoping for in the new year. We have a lot of season left so I hope we catch up.
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#3 Post by Ed Kurtzman » January 1st, 2018, 6:44 pm

Joe,

Doesn't the first half of January look at least 10 times wetter than all of December? I know San Francisco isn't a region with vineyards, but we should get an inch of rain by next weekend. There's a long way to go to catch up to "normal" though.

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#4 Post by Joe Webb » January 2nd, 2018, 10:38 am

Ed I get where your coming from and yes January looks better than December. As warm as these storms are for this time of year (freezing level/snow level) we would usually hope for them to be significant up here. More than half our rainfall, and most of what we collect for our pond, comes from significant storms of the 4-8" type so I have been keeping a look out for our first one of those.

As a skier who closes our tasting room and winery for January to go to Truckee every year. The conditions are the worst I have seen in my adult lifetime up there. However I started mountain biking again and will be taking the bikes as the conditions for that could not be better.
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#5 Post by Jim Hartten » January 2nd, 2018, 1:58 pm

Hopefully, climate change won't have a severe impact on grape growers both on the west coast and around the world in the years ahead. But we have been seeing "signs" of weather change and so far it don't look pretty. pileon As most are aware, the eastern part of the country is experiencing a "cold snap" that weather forecasters are now saying may be the most severe cold front to hit the eastern U.S. in the past 100 years. Several fronts expected to collide in the Atlantic over the next 48 hours that could become yet another major northeast coast storm. Of course we know what the "Pineapple Express" brought to the west coast last off season (i.e., plenty of rain). In sum, hope the west coast starts getting needed rain to set up the 2018 growing season but been wondering more and more the past year or two about the changing weather...anyways, best for 2018! [cheers.gif]

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#6 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 3rd, 2018, 12:49 pm

Happy New Year! It has just started to rain here at the ranch! Very, very exciting!
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#7 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 3rd, 2018, 2:10 pm

This is NOT a happy New year gift. This sucks.
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I kind of expected such silliness. The past couple of weeks has been too warm.
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#8 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 4th, 2018, 8:24 am

It has rained steadily for much of the night and into this morning. Not pelting rain creating puddles, but a nice, steady rain. About 53 degrees.

A lone coyote has been scouring the area. This morning I saw the cats watching from the porch with intense interest, and there I saw her, weaving in and out of the rows of vines.The other morning I jumped in my car and followed the sound and saw her. Just up the way, howling on and on. I think she was after the tree of persimmons that my neighbor has covered to protect from the elements (and pilferers). She is out of her normal source of food of unpicked grapes, which are in a small private vineyard across the street (one that did not harvest). I asked my neighbor if she might remove that fruit as I believed it was attracting the coyotes (based on droppings in my driveway). She immediately removed the fruit.
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#9 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 4th, 2018, 8:26 am

An earthquake shook my place with pretty good force this morning around 2:30-2:45. Looks like the culprit was located in Berkeley, and measured at 4.4.
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#10 Post by Joe Webb » January 4th, 2018, 10:00 am

Casey we saw some of that earlier in the year on a block we budded over to pn in the spring. Its all pruned off now as we have been training it to the wire.

Last 24 hours were predicted to be .25-.5 inches of rain we got .05 in. Similar forecast for next 24 hours well see. These big high pressure blobs often take a few big storms to break and tend to under deliver.
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#11 Post by timmy roos » January 4th, 2018, 10:41 am

Joe/Casey
What varieties did you see the bud swell?
Things are getting funny these day

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#12 Post by Joe Webb » January 4th, 2018, 10:58 am

timmy roos wrote:Joe/Casey
What varieties did you see the bud swell?
115 clone pinot for me, was budded over this last spring.
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#13 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 4th, 2018, 11:12 am

I've seen it in 667 Pinot and and older Martini field. I wanted to look at Pinot Gris and Gewurtz but chickened out.
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#14 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 4th, 2018, 1:54 pm

It is still raining steadily here in Calistoga. I just got back from St. Helena and the sun had just come out a bit. Microclimate, or maybe the rain started again after I left. It is just 15 minutes down the road. It is supposed to clear, I think, and then rain tomorrow night and again Tuesday. My psyche prefers the sun, but man oh man, we need this rain! Rain to boost the cover crop, water for the soil that the vines are in/on, water for the wells, water for yard plantings.

I saw only 2 vineyards with any pruning - one at the corner of my street, which is not owned by Montelena but is farmed by them. This is the Zin, head-trained, never irrigated, tiny vineyard that tends to be harvested first, and the fruit is used for The Blessing up at Montelena each vintage. The other pruned vineyard is the senior Al Frediani's vineyard, up top Pickett Road. Petite, I think, also some Syrah. And Carignane. He always prunes "early."

Also of note, I took an early right at Larkmead Lane coming up Highway 29 instead of the next turn at Dunaweal (the shortest connecting road between Silverado Trail and Highway 29 - where Sterling and Clos Pegase are). You can't imagine the HUGE vineyards that have been pulled there. I could not believe it. Very neatly worked soil, with bundles of pulled vines rolled and presumably waiting for a burn day. I hope they take them off and chip them, but it does not look like that.

That covers a bit of geography. I write this knowing that many people here are familiar with these roads and vineyards, or are at least following them on maps (like the excellent ones Piper put up a few years back). I hope it is of interest. I follow the weather back in New England because I am familiar with it, and it brings me closer to something I know and love. Hopefully my tour around the Valley provides some of that for some of you out there.
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#15 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 5th, 2018, 7:09 am

Half an inch in Anderson Valley over the past 48 hours. Still very warm. Looks like another round early next week.
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#16 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 5th, 2018, 9:53 am

Still pouring rain here, and also quite warm - like 60 degrees.
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#17 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 5th, 2018, 12:52 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:I've seen it in 667 Pinot and and older Martini field. I wanted to look at Pinot Gris and Gewurtz but chickened out.
Looked today and happy to see the Pinot Gris and Gewurtz still tight.....sigh of relief!
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#18 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 6th, 2018, 3:40 pm

It's a gorgeous day here in Calistoga - something for everyone! A warm night, followed by a cold morning, which opened to a sunny, warm afternoon. It will get cold enough for a fireplace fire in a bit.

The rains, which were substantial here, have already boosted the cover crop. Suddenly, amongst the grasses, the favas and sweet peas have shot up. I had wondered if they even got planted....

I just spied a small jackrabbit hiding in here, close, in the vineyard. When I stepped out to view him more closely, he jumped from row to row, clearing the irrigation tubing, much as a champion athlete would clear multiple hurdles. That tubing is 24 inches off the ground!
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#19 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 7th, 2018, 6:26 pm

It was a grey and dismal day here, today. No sun, except a beautiful sunset.

One of my vineyard guys cuts/delivers/stacks firewood. He showed up late this afternoon with a gorgeous half-cord for me. I speak Spanish to him, he nods and converts what I say to English. His English was better than my Spanish today...I need to step it up! We have done this for well over a decade. He admired my cover crop - he did not plant it but the company he works for did. They start tomorrow with pruning here in the Valley.

We are preparing for more rain tomorrow; I brought in plenty of wood to keep me going.
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#20 Post by Edward H. Earles » January 8th, 2018, 4:52 am

Casey Hartlip wrote:This is NOT a happy New year gift. This sucks.
I kind of expected such silliness. The past couple of weeks has been too warm.
If I could pack up a portion of our cold and send it your way, I sure would. It's been like Siberia around here.

I expect a lot of the local vinifera vines to die this winter.

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#21 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 8th, 2018, 9:19 am

It rained most of the night, and it is pouring now. Temperature is just under 50 degrees. It is a good day to stay in by the fire, get some work done, and do some cooking.

Most of the property appears grateful for the moisture, the exception being the circular gravel driveway. All those trips in and around the tree in the middle create indentations, which then become puddles. Given that we need water so badly, seeing those puddles is rather exciting.
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#22 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 8th, 2018, 12:02 pm

Pouring. Pouring more. It is coming from the east, which is a bit unusual. Diamond Mountain is invisible, although it was partially visible earlier this morning.
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#23 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 8th, 2018, 1:31 pm

Edward H. Earles wrote:
Casey Hartlip wrote:This is NOT a happy New year gift. This sucks.
I kind of expected such silliness. The past couple of weeks has been too warm.
If I could pack up a portion of our cold and send it your way, I sure would. It's been like Siberia around here.

I expect a lot of the local vinifera vines to die this winter.
Good call on the possible winter kill Ed. I wasn't even thinking about that. From what I understand temps getting down to around 10 above is all it takes?
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#24 Post by Edward H. Earles » January 8th, 2018, 1:55 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:
Edward H. Earles wrote:
Casey Hartlip wrote:This is NOT a happy New year gift. This sucks.
I kind of expected such silliness. The past couple of weeks has been too warm.
If I could pack up a portion of our cold and send it your way, I sure would. It's been like Siberia around here.

I expect a lot of the local vinifera vines to die this winter.
Good call on the possible winter kill Ed. I wasn't even thinking about that. From what I understand temps getting down to around 10 above is all it takes?
Yes, but it's been below zero here. What is worse for vinifera is cycling of cold and mild temperatures, which we often experience, and will this winter. After a few mild days the vines think Spring has arrived, and break dormancy. Then the temperature drops into the teens and the bark splits, which allows infection of the vines.

Norton is the only grape that is well-adapted here (and it works well for skilled growers), but few producers take it seriously.

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#25 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 8th, 2018, 3:24 pm

Mr. Earles - what is your location? I don't see it posted and so the conversation about temperatures is difficult.
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#26 Post by Gary Schulte » January 8th, 2018, 3:35 pm

Casey - Plant and bud hardiness are related to the plant age, health, variety, location vs climate, and the Fall season's steady acclimation to dormancy. Here's a link to Brock University's vine hardiness program in Ontario with an example for chardonnay ..... http://www.ccovi.ca/vine-alert/bud-hardiness#/vw_c/v_1 . Given a good acclimation into dormancy I'm comfortable with established plants in my site having minimal bud loss up to -3F and not catastrophic loss until > -5F. Once you start to approach -10F I begin to worry about plant loss. Temperature spikes in the dead of winter(now) above 50F for long durations(~4 to 5 days) I worry that the plants start to wake up only to get hit by another sub 10F event. My biggest worry is really with new plants from planting the previous Spring. The temperature numbers for new plants drop back by about 10 degrees from the established plants. These are generalizations as no 2 plants are exactly the same. Enjoy the warmth.

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#27 Post by Edward H. Earles » January 9th, 2018, 6:56 am

Merrill Lindquist wrote:Mr. Earles - what is your location? I don't see it posted and so the conversation about temperatures is difficult.
Sorry--Central Kentucky. This isn't "west coast", but sometimes I just can't resist commenting. There is quite a bit of interest in wine production here, but the local climate is challenging, with cold winters, wild gyrations of early spring weather, and hot, humid, rainy summers. Hard for wine but ideal for Bourbon.

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#28 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 9th, 2018, 8:00 am

No problem, Edward. Everyone is free to post....

It rained all day and all night, and it is still raining now. I need to get a new rain gauge...I never replaced the one I had that was a combination of gauge and thermometer. One very hot day, out in the vineyard, the gauge broke when it hit 138 degrees! I should at least put an old dog dish out on the deck!
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#29 Post by Paul Gordon » January 9th, 2018, 10:35 am

We received 3in of rain the last 36hrs. That takes us to about 17in for the season.
The pond has been very slow to fill this year. Need some good back-to-back storms.
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#30 Post by Ed Kurtzman » January 9th, 2018, 11:33 am

Paul, what's your average rainfall, and what did you receive in the '16-'17 winter?

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#31 Post by Paul Gordon » January 9th, 2018, 4:45 pm

Ed Kurtzman wrote:Paul, what's your average rainfall, and what did you receive in the '16-'17 winter?
Hey Ed

We get around 70in on average. Last winter just over 100in!
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#32 Post by Wes Barton » January 9th, 2018, 4:50 pm

Edward H. Earles wrote:
Merrill Lindquist wrote:Mr. Earles - what is your location? I don't see it posted and so the conversation about temperatures is difficult.
Sorry--Central Kentucky. This isn't "west coast", but sometimes I just can't resist commenting. There is quite a bit of interest in wine production here, but the local climate is challenging, with cold winters, wild gyrations of early spring weather, and hot, humid, rainy summers. Hard for wine but ideal for Bourbon.
Check out what Terra Vox is doing with American and hybrid grapes in Missouri. The Norton was the least interesting of the dozen or so wines I tried. Huge range of weight and expressions.
ITB - Useless lackey

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#33 Post by Edward H. Earles » January 9th, 2018, 5:26 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
Edward H. Earles wrote:
Merrill Lindquist wrote:Mr. Earles - what is your location? I don't see it posted and so the conversation about temperatures is difficult.
Sorry--Central Kentucky. This isn't "west coast", but sometimes I just can't resist commenting. There is quite a bit of interest in wine production here, but the local climate is challenging, with cold winters, wild gyrations of early spring weather, and hot, humid, rainy summers. Hard for wine but ideal for Bourbon.
Check out what Terra Vox is doing with American and hybrid grapes in Missouri. The Norton was the least interesting of the dozen or so wines I tried. Huge range of weight and expressions.
How ought I to do this? The proprietor's web site yields little information beyond marketing hype, and Cellar Tracker contains only 4 tasting notes.

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#34 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 12th, 2018, 11:49 am

Sun's out! I don't care what the temperature is as long as the sun is out!

It was a cool, but not cold, morning here in Calistoga. Fog down to the ground, wetting everything. It has now lifted to reveal a beautiful day.

I went out to check the cover crop. 13-14 inches of gorgeous young greens. But size doesn't matter, other than the strength of the plants to hold the soil when there is a lot of rain. Or to create more good stuff to turn into the soil when the time comes. Ok, maybe size does matter.
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#35 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 16th, 2018, 10:43 am

It is fairly warm out, around 60 degrees, but we have had a light, steady rain last night and this morning.
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#36 Post by R M Kriete » January 16th, 2018, 11:22 am

Merrill Lindquist wrote:It is fairly warm out, around 60 degrees, but we have had a light, steady rain last night and this morning.
Have you "caught up" with your rain total for this time of year?

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#37 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 16th, 2018, 1:40 pm

R M Kriete wrote:
Merrill Lindquist wrote:It is fairly warm out, around 60 degrees, but we have had a light, steady rain last night and this morning.
Have you "caught up" with your rain total for this time of year?
You know what? I don't track it at all. I know that it feels like we are having enough significant rain events, interspersed with sunny days, to make it feel like a somewhat "normal" year. I tend to look at the effects, rather than the statistics. Early on this season, my yard plantings were suffering from lack of water. Now the ground has remained at least damp from rain to rain. The cover crop, while it stagnated for a bit, is now big and green and very healthy. Water holding tank remains constantly full, at 3500 gallons, meaning the well is full and can easily supply my needs this time of year. Everything else I will need to roll with. It is when the rainy season is over...March, April, May? that I will get a better "feel" for what I and the vineyard are in for in 2018. Irrigating the vineyard for 6 hours by drip can easily drain that 3500 gallon water tank. It all depends on the reserves underground. It is only mid-January. Anything can happen. But I would like to see it colder, in general.
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#38 Post by Andrew Demaree » January 16th, 2018, 6:29 pm

Posting for Merrill:
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#39 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 16th, 2018, 9:11 pm

Thanks, Andy. I was taken by the contrast this afternoon at dusk when the clouds and fog were dancing over the mountains beyond the vineyard. Each time I looked it had changed from just minutes before. The green, from the recent rain/sun pattern, is striking. All this green is brown dirt in July.
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#40 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 17th, 2018, 11:17 am

R M Kriete wrote:
Merrill Lindquist wrote:It is fairly warm out, around 60 degrees, but we have had a light, steady rain last night and this morning.
Have you "caught up" with your rain total for this time of year?
We have not caught up and I'm now starting to worry....well more than my normal worry!
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#41 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 18th, 2018, 10:21 am

It started to rain sometime early today and it has been raining steadily all morning. Temperature is around 50 degrees. It is not a deluge, so no real puddles as of yet...just a steady rain that soaks into the ground as it lands.

No sign of Diamond Mountain beyond the vineyard - it is totally fogged in.

The birds are loving it; the cats not so much! But Lady Sapphire, the polydactyl wonder, prefers a comfy cushioned chair on the farmer's porch. She will stay there for hours - she just loves the outdoors. The birds are enjoying the moisture as well - they fly around the vineyard, row to row, then sweep occasionally down to the ground and then up and off to the shelter of the neighboring olive trees.
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#42 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 21st, 2018, 5:25 pm

Very solid rain coming down now with hopes of some accumulation tonight!
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#43 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 21st, 2018, 5:55 pm

After 2 days of bitter cold (for here) it is now raining. 28 degrees this morning! This pattern is excellent...rain, then sun. Let it all sink into the ground.
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#44 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 22nd, 2018, 10:26 am

That was a huge downpour all night long (musical reference - Lionell Richie). Since the first sign and sound of the Tubbs fire, any wind or storm freaks me out. It did not rain on October 8, but the wind was huge. So last night was unsettling...it will take a while for the Wine Country fires of October 2017 to get out of our minds.

The sun is trying its best to show, trying to move the cloud formations off. It is only being slightly successful. But it is a nice day here in the Valley, with water seeping into the ground and hopefully creating reserves for the dry months.
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#45 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 22nd, 2018, 5:22 pm

Over an inch and a half overnight but just barely seeing a bit of runoff. Hoping this next storm on Wednesday keeps the mojo going.
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#46 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 22nd, 2018, 5:30 pm

I thought I posted this earlier, but I do not see it. Cover crop is measuring 16-20 inches, with favas, sweet pea, and mustard starting to show amongst the grasses.
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#47 Post by Casey Hartlip » January 22nd, 2018, 7:37 pm

Pretty stiff south winds here tonight. Hoping this next one has some teeth.
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#48 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 22nd, 2018, 8:38 pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:Pretty stiff south winds here tonight. Hoping this next one has some teeth.
A still evening here...no sign right now of any winds.
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#49 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 23rd, 2018, 8:10 am

This has become on of the foggiest mornings I ever recall here. It has moved from the mountains right down to the floor of the vineyard. No one would ever know there is a mountain range beyond the vineyards.
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#50 Post by Merrill Lindquist » January 24th, 2018, 2:24 pm

It is pouring out there - hard and for several hours. Puddling early on the road and driveway, but we will take it.
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