2022 West Coast Weather and Farming Thread

New year, new thread. Any updates?

We have had rain and fog for as long as I can remember! Today the sun is out, and the forecast is for mild and sunny. Whew.

The vines are finally bare and dormant. If you go to break off the tip of a shoot, it snaps right off in your hand. This is a good thing.

I will schedule the pruning for 3-4 weeks from now, which to me signals the start of our farming season.

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I’m getting going with pruning, and it’s tough to find real promising buds after last year’s drought-induced stunted growth. Maybe 10% of the pinot and syrah vines (viognier was a little better) in my exploratory passes had a good cane to lay down. For the rest, I was trying to find good buds on last year’s spindly shoots. I didn’t have a ton of confidence in the viability of what I was leaving out there, and it was very slow going. In general, it felt like a waste of time. So, I think I’m going to go the opposite direction from painstaking pruning and just do a quick and dirty pre-prune – mow down everything above the 2nd catch-wire (because last year’s canes arch over the 1st catch-wire) and let the vines push out whatever they can manage this year. The exception will be to go back thru to make sure that the positions where I want next year’s canes to emerge have only 2 buds so that I get strong shoots there this year. I don’t anticipate setting enough fruit that crowding will be an issue, but I’ll be pleasantly surprised if that turns out to be my problem. Mostly, I think it’s going to be a year when I have to take whatever the vines have to give, in terms of both fruit and vegetative growth. I hope I’ll be back to trying to rein them in at this time next year.

Will the recent rains encourage the vines to bounce back with a vengeance this year?

The rains certainly help, but it doesn’t repair the preceding year’s weak growth during the drought. Spindly shoot growth last year means that a lot of buds/positions where you’d like new shoot growth and fruit this year won’t be viable, and the vines were less able to produce and store carbohydrates that they will use to initiate growth this year. With abundant soil moisture, I’m sort of braced for rank growth from fewer viable buds and from sucker (unfruitful) shoots.

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I posted in last years thread a bit. This year so far 24" of snow in early January, about 6" remain. I don’t like to prune wearing skis or snow shoes, so I usually start around March 1, earlier if it’s warm enough. I am anxious to see if any of my first leaf Mourvedre and Albarino come back. Various reasons to suspect that they may not, not really snow related. Not sure what I’ll do with those 10 rows if they are empty in April.

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Napa Valley has seen some extreme weather swings lately. Cold in the 30s overnight with plenty of frost, then up to 65-75 during the clear days. Restaurants are still serving outside to patrons who request it - it is that warm.

Some pruning going on - some first cuts and some total pruning, but it does not appear to be widespread.

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I’ve been needing to go to cane pruned due to lots of pruning wounds and cordon diseases, but after last year finding strong growth doesn’t look great here either… Feels like it will be super messy sucker-palooza 2017 all over again…

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maybe we took this dry January too far

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After a couple days of high winds, we are back to a pattern of cold nights, warm days, and zero rainfall. My vineyard’s cover crop contains bell beans, and I usually look for the white flowers to emerge before pruning and disking. Just a few white flowers showing yesterday. We need some rain!

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Just an insane cover crop this year. Over 6 feet tall in lots of the vineyard. The timing of the rains couldn’t have been better. Things are dry enough now that I’ll be able to get through with the tractor and mower to knock down the mustard this week. Hopefully that will let the clovers see a little sun, and I’ll try to let that set seed.
I had stands like this when I first developed the vineyard and dug out the old dairy manure pond and spread the contents over the ground prior to laying out the rows. I had N through the roof and every thistle known to man for several years before things calmed down, but it got the vines off to a roaring start.

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I’ve decided to prune this weekend, and soon to follow will be a mow and disk. Can it be possible we are done with rain for this season?

Would that be major issue ?? Drought conditions once again in (near) future ?

No. I made it through 2021 without issue, and hopefully can do the same this season.

We could certainly do with some more rain, but at least my rootzone reached saturation and my irrigation pond has filled. Neither of those conditions were reached in 2021 (in the case of the pond, there wasn’t a drop), so I’m miles ahead of where I was a year ago. The cover crop is sucking up moisture that I would like to see replaced in the next couple of months, but if we have to get by on the water we have now, it’s doable. If I had frost protection that used water, I’d be less comfortable going with what I’ve got now.

same situation here.

The promising winter rains in December (8") have given way to dry, warm weather in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties. Our season always starts early, but we are seeing budburst on Sangiovese and Syrah. Highs are in the 80’s and lows in the 60’s so it looks like we will be getting going about three weeks early this year.

Patrick, thank you for participating. Please continue to post.

We saw a high of 80.2F at the estate in Knights Valley Today. Rumor has it that there is budbreak up on Moon Mountain.

It is 77 degrees here at 10 in the morning. Highly unusual and possibly a record breaking day.