2019 West Coast Weather Thread

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Roy Piper
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#501 Post by Roy Piper »

I stepped on a rattler once in a vineyard back in 2010. It was 7am just after dawn, during harvest. I could feel the squishy feel through my tennis shoes and knew it was a snake mid-step. Freaked me out. When I turned back to look at it, it must have been sleeping or something because it slowly uncoiled and gently ratted after the fact. I count myself lucky. Thinking about it freaks me out.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#502 Post by Kim Z »

A bit off topic but we don't kill them here. I capture and safely relocate to a friend who is developing a Pacific Rattlesnake venom vaccine for pets. The snake's venom is milked - they are not harmed. (There is already a vaccine for diamondbacks, but this is not the predominant species here. Casey you may want to look into this up your way for your pooch).

Here he is relaxing in his hotel awaiting his new job!

(I have kept / handled snakes since I was small, and have tongs to safely capture venomous)
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#503 Post by Gary Schulte »

Finally, I've come across a thread, and person, where the snake is alive and valued. Can't tell you how many farmers kill anything that slithers along the ground. Cheers to you Kim and your friend. Four legged grape eaters are a different story.

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#504 Post by Gary Schulte »

Not sure if I shared this before but my upbringing in California has trained my eyes for reptiles. While doing some vineyard work on my tractor I caught a quick glance of this little guy. Moved him to the safety of a rock wall. Looks newly hatched.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#505 Post by Wes Barton »

Cute little guy.

We have rattlesnakes in the hills here. They can be a problem if they're too close to a home or something, where children or pets could get bit. I hear about those being moved or killed. Further out, well, they tend to be tolerated, since they're major predators of gophers. There are also gopher snakes, which are all about love.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#506 Post by timmy roos »

Talked yesterday to the rep from one of the wineries we deal with. They have about 2 more weeks to go. What is left?
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#507 Post by Casey Hartlip »

I can only imagine the power outages are messing with the final steps of harvest. Like many we're on our second day of no power. The fire thread over in wine talk seems to be the place for more news. Stay safe folks.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#508 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Jesus, just checked weather station and NOOA. Philo and Potter Valley both 23 degrees. Not a good morning to be without power.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#509 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

I do not know who has what still hanging, but it sounds like a helicopter convention at my place. Seems to be coming from up the hill on Pickett (Hundred Acre?) and across The Trail (Diamond Mountain?). I thought every one was in by now.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#510 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Every morning since I last posted has had wind machines going. This morning it is one, coming from the direction of Diamond Mountain. Apparently some one has not harvested yet.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#511 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Rough time of year. I've got folks that need a paycheck and I have to find work to do. Already filled a 40 yard dumpster with junk left lying around our storage areas and junk piles. Another crew has been trimming trees and brush around the vineyard and fence areas. This is something that needs to be done every few years. This is the turning area for the tractors when they are doing all of their jobs (mowing, spraying etc) and clearance is important for our $55k machines.

We added a new dimension this year by building light frames for our early morning picking schedule. We now need 10 feet of clearance due to the new equipment, what worked before is different now.

We will likely start our pruning earlier than normal. Those mid 20 degree temps certainly sent our vines into slumberland.

Damn, sure would like to see some rain.

Oh on the winemaking front my barrel of clone 91 Pinot has completed both primary and malo fermentation. Thanks to one of my customers I got labs done. 14.5 alcohol, which proves my aggressive water adds were warranted. 3.53 pH which I'm very happy with. The wine tastes amazing at such an early stage compared to the '18 which took MONTHS to go through malo and have the acid even out!. The '18 is still in barrel, to be bottled in December, while I see no reason to keep the '19 thru harvest.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#512 Post by Sean Devaney »

Any one still have fruit out there?

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#513 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Sean Devaney wrote: November 6th, 2019, 6:28 am Any one still have fruit out there?
I was on Howell Mountain yesterday and there was fruit loaded on a truck coming down those winding roads. Not sure where it was headed. Still a few trucks with fruit here and there.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#514 Post by Ben M a n d l e r »

Our late harvest Gewürztraminer just came in today (from San Benito county). That’s a wrap for us.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#515 Post by T Klonoski »

Ben M a n d l e r wrote: November 6th, 2019, 9:22 pm Our late harvest Gewürztraminer just came in today (from San Benito county). That’s a wrap for us.
Ben, would be interested in any highlights (or lowlights) from your first harvest.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#516 Post by Rboinski »

Ben M a n d l e r wrote: November 6th, 2019, 9:22 pm Our late harvest Gewürztraminer just came in today (from San Benito county). That’s a wrap for us.
That is a long harvest considering how early your first pick was!
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#517 Post by Paul Gordon »

With the 2018 crush nearly over (we have 50% of our lots in barrel with the rest to be pressed off in the next 10 days) below are my thoughts on the vintage. I would be interested in hearing the thoughts of others.

1. Crop for our vineyard was somewhat lower than average. Mainly a result of a very cold May 2018 (when buds for 2019 were being formed).
2. The heavy rain in late May had little effect on crop levels except on Grenache (which always drags out its flowering).
3. The heavy May rain combined with a cool early summer temperatures did raise the mildew pressure.
4. For our vineyard the 2019 summer temps matched 2018 averages. The difference was the warmer temps were in August 2019 vs July 2018. That difference has resulted in moderate malics in 2019 compared to high malic in 2018.
5. Cooler weather hit early in 2019 - our average highs September 15-30th were lower than the average highs for October 1-15th. The early cool did trigger the vines to start their winter shut down a little earlier than normal but due to our lower crop (which ripens earlier) this did not present an issue.
6. Seeds were slow to harden this year - I suspect all that moisture in the ground. The earlier start of vine shut down actually helped here, as it triggered hardening.
7. As others have noted, sugars ran ahead of phenolics (see seed comment above). Alcohols are a little higher than the last couple years.
8. Pick dates were about a week earlier than 2018 except (lower lying) Oppenlander which was two weeks earlier. Altitude seemed to have a greater cooling effect this year.
8. Ferments have been slow to start (we do not inoculated) but once they started they moved fast. I suspect the slow starts are due to cold fruit and a cold winery (due to cold winter/cool summer).
8. First look at the wines shows lots of color, high intensity. I think bigger boned wines more like 2015/16.


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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#518 Post by Ben M a n d l e r »

T Klonoski wrote: November 7th, 2019, 2:40 pm
Ben M a n d l e r wrote: November 6th, 2019, 9:22 pm Our late harvest Gewürztraminer just came in today (from San Benito county). That’s a wrap for us.
Ben, would be interested in any highlights (or lowlights) from your first harvest.
Overall it was wonderful. I was impressed with how well organized the whole operation was. Jeff somehow manages to always have this serene air of calm and control about him, which really set the tone for the rest of us. Shifts were pretty reasonable - at the peak (September and early October) it was 6 days a week, 11-13 hours a day. Hard work, of course, but manageable. The fruit came in really steadily - again, probably good management on Jeff's part, but having vineyards all over helps, too - our first Pinot came in August 21, last Pinot came in something like 7 weeks later.

A few highlights:
- Being able to spend a lot of time with the fruit from the Coastlands vineyard from crush pad to barrel was a joy. One of my absolute favorite vineyards, it was just a real treat to turn those grapes into wine.
- Sampling vineyards at sunrise.
- Tasting grapes as they came in and following flavor profiles through the winemaking process was really eye-opening.
- Jeff would bring in wines from other producers that work with some of the same vineyards, varietals, or styles as us, so we got to taste a bunch of cool stuff.
- Williams Selyem has amazing catered lunches during harvest - great food and great company. The full-timers and other interns were all a really great group. There wasn't anyone slowing things down or screwing things up.
- Honestly I really love foot-treading grapes and that was probably 20% of my time.
- I didn't realize how delicious Chardonnay grapes are...it was very difficult to leave them in the cold room for crushing...

Lowlights, hmm. Waking up with swollen hands. Barely ever seeing my wife. Not having the same day off as any of my friends. Sulfur. There's also a pretty strong comedown when the pace slows. But all in all, a great experience and a great introduction to a new industry and career.
Rboinski wrote: November 7th, 2019, 3:42 pm
Ben M a n d l e r wrote: November 6th, 2019, 9:22 pm Our late harvest Gewürztraminer just came in today (from San Benito county). That’s a wrap for us.
That is a long harvest considering how early your first pick was!
True, and I'm grateful for it, though it's been about a month since the last Pinot came in so really it's been pretty quiet for a while.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#519 Post by T Klonoski »

Great to hear that you had a good experience, Ben. Thanks for the interesting notes.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#520 Post by R M Kriete »

Any rain?

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#521 Post by Casey Hartlip »

R M Kriete wrote: November 14th, 2019, 7:00 am Any rain?
Nope! The 10 day really isn't showing much hope.

Back from my hunting trip (see hunting/fishing thread in Asylum). Cleanup and maintenance coming to an end with some great results. Very happy with some of the stuff my crew has done.

Going to start pruning on Monday.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#522 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Really not enjoying the drought. Cover crop is just sitting there wanting a drink. I'm not going to run my frost system sprinklers as the water is too valuable. Really would have given the vines a good drink with the drip system but after getting zapped with 27 degrees I figured why bother. Going to be interesting to see how the vineyard reacts next season. Will there be damage?
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#523 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Day one of pruning for harvest 2020! Was happy to be out thigh my crew. Couple of new guys being mentored by some of my older guys. The f_cking leaves still not rained off the vines (drought is another topic) or blown off by a good wind. Surely making the job move more slowly. Either way we need to get started on 180 acres of vines to prune.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#524 Post by William Segui »

Casey Hartlip wrote: November 17th, 2019, 6:06 am after getting zapped with 27 degrees I figured why bother. Going to be interesting to see how the vineyard reacts next season. Will there be damage?
Casey -- Could you expand on this? Why is 27 degrees at this point a concern and how does it potentially impact next year? Thanks!

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#525 Post by Casey Hartlip »

William Segui wrote: November 19th, 2019, 11:13 am
Casey Hartlip wrote: November 17th, 2019, 6:06 am after getting zapped with 27 degrees I figured why bother. Going to be interesting to see how the vineyard reacts next season. Will there be damage?
Casey -- Could you expand on this? Why is 27 degrees at this point a concern and how does it potentially impact next year? Thanks!
You hate to see a vineyard go to bed so early and with an empty stomach. Perfect scenario is a few weeks of non frosty weather with either a healthy shot of irrigation or rainfall while the vines are still awake.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#526 Post by Jim Hartten »

Congrats on what sounds like a very good 2019 vintage for many! Hope the rains start falling. [cheers.gif]

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#527 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

I hope the rains start too because they have again shut off our power as a precaution in the dry windy weather.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#528 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Started pruning a couple of rows in the Gruner the last couple of days. Guess I forgot how hard that wood is. Feels as firm as Riesling. Could be my grip is out of shape too!

As I started on the east side of the blocks, that's the weakest part. I gotta a you that field is going to ramp up on crop big time. Those vines really grew some serious canes and the trunks have really sized up too. I'm not going to baby these vines so much this year as they've had another years root growth. Going to be exciting. Tomorrow I get to taste one of the two 2019 lots!
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#529 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Oh and rain finally predicted middle of next week! champagne.gif
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#530 Post by R M Kriete »

Still looking good for rain?

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#531 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

R M Kriete wrote: November 25th, 2019, 10:50 am Still looking good for rain?
Not looking like it now...a beautiful day. But I see 100% chance forecast for tomorrow.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#532 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Weather underground calling for 1.3" in my area starting tomorrow.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#533 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Nothing but a few sprinkles so far, unfortunately. They still say it is coming - I hope they are right. It is not a Napa Valley day out there - raw and gray - not what most people think of when they think of Napa Valley.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#534 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Ok, we've got rain: steady, soaking, beautiful rain to feed the soil that will feed the vines in the spring.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#535 Post by R M Kriete »

Merrill Lindquist wrote: November 26th, 2019, 3:47 pm Ok, we've got rain: steady, soaking, beautiful rain to feed the soil that will feed the vines in the spring.
Hooray!

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#536 Post by Paul Gordon »

2 inch of rain the last 18hrs. Turned to snow this morning. With more rain forecast for the weekend, I think we can finally pronounce the end of fire season in Mendo.

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#537 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Cold here, with no rain. But more is forecast for the weekend - bring it on!

Supposed to go down to the 20s tonight, so will do my annual irrigation valve shutoff and drain the irrigation system and pipes in hopes of avoiding a break. It is tied into my yard irrigation, so it has remained on quite late into this year.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#538 Post by Andrew Demaree »

Posting for Merrill:
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#539 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Thanks, Andy. This morning around 7:00. We had plenty of rain the other day, and the sub-30 temps this morning made a great slip-and-slide! This is my yard with the Adirondack chairs frosted over, a giant tomato plant to the right that has had hundreds of edible cherry tomatoes, at least until this freeze. Then on to my small vineyard and looking out to Diamond Mountain. Serene, beautiful, and cold.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#540 Post by William Segui »

Power out here for the third time in two months. This is getting incredibly tiresome

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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#541 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

William Segui wrote: November 30th, 2019, 6:38 pm Power out here for the third time in two months. This is getting incredibly tiresome
Hope you have a fireplace or two! It's 43 degrees here and raining steadily all day. But I do have power.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#542 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

It is still raw and rainy. I mean big rain, lasting all day and all night. The forecast is for rain every day until perhaps only a 50% chance on Saturday. That's a week away! This ought to give the cover crop a big kick to get going, but we will need the sun for that.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#543 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Back from a wild drive up to Seattle. Tuesday afternoon was wild on the Oregon coast.

Various issues at the homestead: some ornamentals blown over, outside furniture blown off the housepad and luckily my neighbor (was feeding the cat and chickens) retarped my woodpile. Obviously I left the estate a bit unprepared for what happened. Roads and ditches did pretty well which means it wasn't a ton of water. Always exciting living the rural lifestyle!
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#544 Post by Ben M a n d l e r »

Rain died down for much of today but the winds were fierce driving from Santa Rosa to Davis and back. Carneros looking pretty bedraggled. Looks like we might even get sun tomorrow!
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#545 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

The sun is out! The sun is out! Had nearly forgotten what it looked and felt like.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#546 Post by Stewart Johnson »

Spent the morning clearing the drop inlets in hopes of catching some runoff to feed the pond. Maybe I'll harvest something by the weekend if the atmospheric river hangs together. Nothing moving across the surface yet and a long way from moving any water thru the subsurface drainage.
There was something off in the vineyard that took me a few minutes to identify. Everything that wasn't weighed down had blown against the southern fence -- leaves, buckets, gas cans, etc. Usually, my winds come from the south and everything ends up on the north side of the vineyard, but it looks like those winds that caused all the power outages reversed the normal weather pattern.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#547 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Did battle with some mature Pinot vines today. 20 year old cane pruned vines that are cropped for sparkling. This is advanced pruning with a physical aspect to it that makes it very hard. Canes are wrapped on a single wire on each side. Just getting last year's canes off is a work out. Finding 3 or 4 good canes to replace is not easy. Once again I have such respect for my crew out there fighting the good fight every day in the cold and wet air. I get to move around the ranch and pruned fields that I deem more important. I most enjoy pruning vines that are 3-4 year's old that are at the most formative stage. Yesterday I pruned in a Chard field that I've been setting up for the last two years. I was happy to see I could turn the main crew in there with a bit of tough supervision for the first two days. Sorry to ramble.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#548 Post by Casey Hartlip »

Add another 2 inches in the last 24 hours. Pretty serious winds here at my house. Not expecting small creeks to flow much or for very long. Hoping cover crop starts to emerge soon. Not of the native grasses have popped in the past week.
Updated at 6:00 pm: 3". Just wonderful!
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#549 Post by T Klonoski »

Casey Hartlip wrote: December 5th, 2019, 5:48 pm Did battle with some mature Pinot vines today. 20 year old cane pruned vines that are cropped for sparkling. This is advanced pruning with a physical aspect to it that makes it very hard. Canes are wrapped on a single wire on each side. Just getting last year's canes off is a work out. Finding 3 or 4 good canes to replace is not easy. Once again I have such respect for my crew out there fighting the good fight every day in the cold and wet air. I get to move around the ranch and pruned fields that I deem more important. I most enjoy pruning vines that are 3-4 year's old that are at the most formative stage. Yesterday I pruned in a Chard field that I've been setting up for the last two years. I was happy to see I could turn the main crew in there with a bit of tough supervision for the first two days. Sorry to ramble.
It's that kind of rambling that makes this thread one of the best things on the site, year in and year out.
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

#550 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

I won't be pruning until February or March. When your vineyard is so small that a couple of men can do it in a day or two, there is really no rush. Larger growers need to get the pruning folks out there and moving onto their other sites - can't all be done at once.

The native grasses in my yard spaces leading to the vineyard have just started. I'm away for a few days so I can't say about the cover crop. Hopefully!

The water situation is, of course, much improved by all that rain. Holding tank is full, well is just gathering water to pump as needed to the holding tank - a much different situation than when there is no rainfall and I am using a lot of water to irrigate the vines. But it is all part of the cycle, it's just the cycles vary year to year.
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