2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

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Merrill Lindquist
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#51 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Calistoga has been getting hammered with rain - our usual, If it rains anywhere in the Bay area, it rains alot here.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#52 Post by Ben M a n d l e r »

I measured 2.5” total accumulation Tue-Thur in our garden in Santa Rosa. Few small mudslides in the mountains but I haven’t heard of anything terrible.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#53 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Ben M a n d l e r wrote: January 29th, 2021, 9:51 pm I measured 2.5” total accumulation Tue-Thur in our garden in Santa Rosa. Few small mudslides in the mountains but I haven’t heard of anything terrible.
I'm sure someone can post a link to a piece of HWY 1 washed out in Big Sur area....ugly.

In our area the next 3 day storm has been downgraded from 3" to barely 2" now. A disturbing trend. The only good news is there's not a big warm up the next 10 days.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#54 Post by timmy roos »

The storm was downgraded in northern ca but delivered in central area. We literally pumped amillion gallons off our property
3” pumps @ 250 gallons/min(conservative) x 72 hours
Things are getting funny these day

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#55 Post by Casey Hartlip »

My worst fears realized: the 'big one' wasn't big for us. The last little front has less than an inch in store so the 5 day stretch that had 5-6 inches will give us less than 3.

It's really starting to feel like two consecutive years in the late 70's when we had two years in the teens (normal in our area is 35). If the trend continues, every aspect of California agriculture will be seriously affected. Trying not to cry wolf, just my thoughts.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#56 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

It has been raining here like crazy. The cover crop is alreay quite high, but the sunny days of Friday and Saturday should make the whole thing pop.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#57 Post by Joe Webb »

Casey Hartlip wrote: January 31st, 2021, 2:44 pm My worst fears realized: the 'big one' wasn't big for us. The last little front has less than an inch in store so the 5 day stretch that had 5-6 inches will give us less than 3.

It's really starting to feel like two consecutive years in the late 70's when we had two years in the teens (normal in our area is 35). If the trend continues, every aspect of California agriculture will be seriously affected. Trying not to cry wolf, just my thoughts.
How can it keep getting worse every year? only 7.07" of rain here so far. Worried about early bud break and how many frost events well have thru May as our pond is no where close to full, and the fan has limitations here on below 30* nights. We may end up being another August harvest start just like Burgundy, and hopefully before the smoke. Our daffodils are not up yet so thats good, but it may be 70* here this weekend.

Finished up with pruning and heading into our second year of full organics, which is made easier by lack of rain. Smaller crops and less mold/pest pressure. Especially if the entire vineyard is harvested by mid Sept.

A couple of AR events could get us back on track, thats what saved '13-'15, we still got 20-22" but multiple several inch storms in that mix.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#58 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Yeah Joe, this is a pretty scary pattern. I'm starting to think about different scenarios. It's possible we will use up the majority of our water for frost season and have to dry farm the rest of the way. I almost ordered 7200 green growing vines for delivery in May, but decided against it. We might go 100% cultivation (our normal is every other row) to maximize what ground water we will end up with.

It's not too late to get enough rain for the season, but hoping is not a strategy. Sure would be nice to have a nice, boring farming year! You know: one without drought, smoke, labor shortage, wineries with too much inventory etc.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#59 Post by Stewart Johnson »

I pushed off a grafting project because the grafted vines take a lot of irrigation. I already pulled the 100% cultivation tool out of the bag last year and really wouldn't want to do that two years in a row. It's true that "If you ain't fretting, you ain't farming," but ... hell.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#60 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

My "neighborhood" certainly bucks the trend. Driving down my street yesterday I saw plenty of standing water in vineyards down near Constellation's 14 acres and Kenefick and Frediani. Some also along Tubbs Lane. Microclimates are a strange thing.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#61 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Merrill Lindquist wrote: February 3rd, 2021, 11:09 am My "neighborhood" certainly bucks the trend. Driving down my street yesterday I saw plenty of standing water in vineyards down near Constellation's 14 acres and Kenefick and Frediani. Some also along Tubbs Lane. Microclimates are a strange thing.
Standing water is not a great judge of rainfall, more likely it shows compacted soils or clay layers. The numbers don't lie, we're all in a heap of hurt.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#62 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Yikes! 7:30 pm and it's already 39 out there!
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#63 Post by Stewart Johnson »

Merrill Lindquist wrote: February 3rd, 2021, 11:09 am My "neighborhood" certainly bucks the trend. Driving down my street yesterday I saw plenty of standing water in vineyards down near Constellation's 14 acres and Kenefick and Frediani. Some also along Tubbs Lane. Microclimates are a strange thing.
I was up that way today, and that seemed to be the case-- a lot wetter in Rutherford than in SF, southern Napa or Marin. I think Napa is at its best with a storm brewing. It was really spectacular this afternoon.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#64 Post by Casey Hartlip »

31 and thick fog this morning. We are too far ahead on our pruning. A layoff is coming. Going to cut the crew back to my resident folks only, about a 20%. Still plenty of work, just want to have steady work for my main crew.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#65 Post by Casey Hartlip »

IMG_20210204_120558299.jpg
Sign of the times. One of our 8 reservoirs. This one usually spills over by new years. Bumming in Mendo.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#66 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Screenshot_20210210-054904.png
Here comes another underwhelming series of storms. Thursday will be the best day over the next week with .75" predicted. That just won't cut it. I talked to two other farmers in my area this week and each said they have a third of their normal water stored or even less.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#67 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Oh God I just looked up at my last post. I was going to say an underwhelming .70" storm, yet I used underwhelming in the previous post. I'm seriously...... beyond seriously concerned about the coming year. Talked to my brother.....works for Roederer, and when I stated talking drought, his face went blank.

I'm sure some of you think I'm some kind of alarmist, but in my line of work you live with these things DAILY. A drought is something that goes away quickly. All of my piers in this business are terrified. Yes, there's still time to make up the deficit but I've heard that shit before.

One possible bright spot is talk of our friend 'la nina' might be on her way out.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#68 Post by Ben M a n d l e r »

Casey Hartlip wrote: February 12th, 2021, 5:18 pm I'm sure some of you think I'm some kind of alarmist, but in my line of work you live with these things DAILY. A drought is something that goes away quickly. All of my piers in this business are terrified. Yes, there's still time to make up the deficit but I've heard that shit before.

One possible bright spot is talk of our friend 'la nina' might be on her way out.
I understand where you’re coming from and I don’t think you’re an alarmist at all. I haven’t been paying close attention to the numbers but it has really been noticeably dry this winter.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#69 Post by Al Osterheld »

It's particularly bad for the Anderson Valley since the wineries rely on local water, rather than sources fed by snow melt in the Sierras.

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#70 Post by Joe Webb »

Al Osterheld wrote: February 13th, 2021, 9:54 am It's particularly bad for the Anderson Valley since the wineries rely on local water, rather than sources fed by snow melt in the Sierras.

-Al
Our biggest issue in AV is that were the coldest appellation in CA and the only one that has frost every year. Water is preferred for frost protection via overhead sprinklers. Ever since the beginning of the "13-'15 drought fans have been installed all over the valley even though they only work for about 1/3 of our frost events at best. As well light rain years lead to early bud break and more frost events. Frost season lasts thru May, I have lost tomatoes to frost in early June, so when bud break is in Feb not March we have almost an additional month we need to frost protect.

At least August harvests are happening in Burgundy too, so its not just AV.
Light winter = early bud break = more frost = less crop = August pick dates with 20-40% lower crop loads = great wines = less money and more stress for farmers
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#71 Post by Casey Hartlip »

IMG_20210215_163740912.jpg
Late yesterday after a day of drizzle Zip and I went for a pre-dinner walk. The cover crop is about the only thing happy with the weather. It's certainly received enough to make it pretty strong. Zip is about 14" at the shoulder. I have other fields not as robust as this one.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#72 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

We got a lot of rain. Cover crop looks great - holding tank is full. I am not worried. And if I get worried, there are solutions.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#73 Post by Casey Hartlip »

It's not even March and I think all of my fruit is spoken for.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#74 Post by Sean Devaney »

Casey is that in part do to how so many wineries dealt with smoke taint issues last year and saw how AV was able to deliver clean fruit in 2020?

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#75 Post by Ben M a n d l e r »

St Helena this morning. The vines are practically drowning in a sea of yellow. On the other hand, that blue sky you see is all we have in the forecast for the next 10 days at least, and the burn scars are still looking pretty dilapidated.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#76 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Sean Devaney wrote: February 17th, 2021, 10:11 am Casey is that in part do to how so many wineries dealt with smoke taint issues last year and saw how AV was able to deliver clean fruit in 2020?
Dude, I'm thinking it's about my amazing skillz as a grape grower! Seriously people are looking ahead and have a need for product. I will admit that Naked wines has become a big client. Their biz model with consumer direct sales has played perfectly with the Covid situation.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#77 Post by Al Osterheld »

Casey Hartlip wrote: February 17th, 2021, 7:02 pm
Sean Devaney wrote: February 17th, 2021, 10:11 am Casey is that in part do to how so many wineries dealt with smoke taint issues last year and saw how AV was able to deliver clean fruit in 2020?
Dude, I'm thinking it's about my amazing skillz as a grape grower! Seriously people are looking ahead and have a need for product. I will admit that Naked wines has become a big client. Their biz model with consumer direct sales has played perfectly with the Covid situation.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#78 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Al Osterheld wrote: February 17th, 2021, 8:09 pm
Casey Hartlip wrote: February 17th, 2021, 7:02 pm
Sean Devaney wrote: February 17th, 2021, 10:11 am Casey is that in part do to how so many wineries dealt with smoke taint issues last year and saw how AV was able to deliver clean fruit in 2020?
Dude, I'm thinking it's about my amazing skillz as a grape grower! Seriously people are looking ahead and have a need for product. I will admit that Naked wines has become a big client. Their biz model with consumer direct sales has played perfectly with the Covid situation.
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Al you are right. Nobody wants my opinion anymore.... especially the marketing folks.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#79 Post by Al Osterheld »

Dude, I was referring to the nekkid part.

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#80 Post by Sean Devaney »

Casey Hartlip wrote: February 17th, 2021, 7:02 pm
Sean Devaney wrote: February 17th, 2021, 10:11 am Casey is that in part do to how so many wineries dealt with smoke taint issues last year and saw how AV was able to deliver clean fruit in 2020?
Dude, I'm thinking it's about my amazing skillz as a grape grower! Seriously people are looking ahead and have a need for product. I will admit that Naked wines has become a big client. Their biz model with consumer direct sales has played perfectly with the Covid situation.
Jeez Casey the grape growing part is a given. Thanks for the answer [cheers.gif]

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#81 Post by Casey Hartlip »

IMG-20210218-WA0002~2.jpg
My guy is out mowing lawns today and comes across this fella. Quite sure it's not a barn owl as they are generally white or cream color. W walked close to it and couldn't fly well. There is a hollow tree nearby. I'm thinking it's a young one and the brightness of the daylight has it stunned. Hoping it will meet up with mom tonight before a raccoon or fox.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#82 Post by Steve Gautier »

Looks like a Barred Owl but you should post in the bird migration thread for thoughts.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#83 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

We got more rain overnight and into the morning. The mustard is outstanding this year, and the pattern of sun then rain is making everything green instead of brown.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#84 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

And more rain overnight....
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#85 Post by Casey Hartlip »

.4" overnight. I woke to some serious showers and wind. Need to get out and check some ponds.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#86 Post by Joe Webb »

Got .36" last night up to 9.6". Maybe 70 on Monday bud break will be soon.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#87 Post by Andrew Demaree »

Posting for Merrill:
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#88 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Thanks, Andy. This is a shot I took of the bare vines surrounded by a huge cover crop (there is more in there than the mustard - that has just popped up everywhere and has grown high). That's Diamond Mountain in the distance. Each year I marvel at the beauty of this time of year. Will be pruning next weekend.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#89 Post by Casey Hartlip »

IMG_20210220_151802523_HDR.jpg
Pond walk today....not very good. This one I posted a few weeks ago.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#90 Post by Roy Piper »

Fairly strong winds this afternoon in Napa. I hear more on the way tomorrow. I think we've had at least 2 days since Jan 1st that had worse wind than anything we had last year. Low rain totals this season combined with increased gustiness for this time of year has me a bit worried about fires in the summer.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#91 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Funny how my 3001st post would be bitching about the weather! Feels even more hopeless as the dry weeks tick by. The only bright spot is temps remain on the low side.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#92 Post by David M. »

Roy Piper wrote: February 23rd, 2021, 8:27 pm Fairly strong winds this afternoon in Napa. I hear more on the way tomorrow. I think we've had at least 2 days since Jan 1st that had worse wind than anything we had last year. Low rain totals this season combined with increased gustiness for this time of year has me a bit worried about fires in the summer.
I was at an estate vineyard today pruning and can confirm major winds coming in from the North-West in Knights Valley this afternoon. Gusts must have been 45 MPH. No good.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#93 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Looks like a little something on the horizon?
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#94 Post by Joe Webb »

Still no bud break, mid 60's and low 30's as we hope were still another week or 2 out.
First pass of mowing around the property done.
Almost all the wines are done with wild malo and will get there first pinch of so2.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#95 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Joe Webb wrote: March 1st, 2021, 9:24 am Still no bud break, mid 60's and low 30's as we hope were still another week or 2 out.
First pass of mowing around the property done.
Almost all the wines are done with wild malo and will get there first pinch of so2.
Yeah Joe, we've been darn lucky with the cooler weather. The ten day shows some promise........but I've said that too many times during this rainy season.

We will be done pruning in a few more days, the first in many years when it wasn't a struggle....too many dry work days! PLEASE...PLEASE....PLEASE bring us 12" in March!
Ordway's Valley Foothills

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#96 Post by R M Kriete »

"PLEASE bring us 12" in March!"

Hopefully March comes in like a lion and goes out like.....a lion.

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#97 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

I am seeing rain for Friday, and Monday/Tuesday. That would be excellent.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#98 Post by Chris C a r y »

Hi ladies and gents,

I'm not new per se, but participating more in Berserkers, and found this thread, I'll need to look back through prior vintages. I have a small 1.25 acres "hobby" vineyard near Yakima, Washington in the Naches Heights AVA. I grow Pinot Noir, Syrah, Roussanne, Viognier, Gewurztraminer, Sangiovese, varying amounts, top to bottom of hill. Expecting to add a bit of Mourvedre, and Albarino this spring, replacing some Gewurz and adding a couple of rows at top. We planted in 2015, and really just now figuring out how to farm it, with lots of guidance from a local viticulturist, and will likely sell some fruit this year. We've made our own wines and jellies since 2016 (yes we had a crop that year, crazy warm 15-16 years aligned to jump start our vineyard).

Hope to learn more here, and contribute what I can from a Pac NW perspective on weather, etc... I have visited Napa in January and loved the mustard cover crops. This picture is a couple of years old, but shows our typical winter cover crop in Naches Heights, photo taken March 1, 2019. This year our (hopefully last) snow melted about a week ago, though still some in shady spots.

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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#99 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Welcome Chris! I would check with the locals to see if you can get Mourvedre ripe. I've never grown it but I'm told it's even later ripening than Grenache, and we struggled getting it ripe in inland Mendocino.
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Re: 2021 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

#100 Post by Chris C a r y »

Casey Hartlip wrote: March 3rd, 2021, 9:12 am Welcome Chris! I would check with the locals to see if you can get Mourvedre ripe. I've never grown it but I'm told it's even later ripening than Grenache, and we struggled getting it ripe in inland Mendocino.
Thanks for the welcome, Casey. Yeah, I am aware of that challenge with Mourvedre. I had intended to plant some in my original planting as I love the wine, and it would likely be for blending with Syrah or as a rose if it won't ripen fully. The nursery here (Inland Desert which supplies most new vines in WA I think) didn't have it in 2015, so I'm giving a shot now. 200 vines on order, probably head trained and at top of my hill where I have less frost risk, so can hang longest. My vineyard is between 1730-1800 feet in elevation, which is about average for the AVA, but higher than most of the rest of Greater Columbia Valley AVA which we are sub-set of. I have usually done my last pick at end of October, but first frost as late as Nov 15. We have all the heat we'll get, 2400-2800 GDD, by ~Oct 25 either way.

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