Viticulture Association of the Santa Cruz Mountains
Map with permission of
With virtually no rain for 13 months (January 2013 through January 2014), everyone has been focused on a drought year. And with great yields in 2012 and 2013, the expectation is for lower yields in 2014. On 20 February 2014, UC Davis held a special seminar on Vineyard Water Management. Then, in February the Santa Cruz Mountains received 10-15" of rain in several moderate doses. If March and April can provide some more precipitation, the vineyard soils should be well-charged for another great season.
Bud break is occurring 1-2 weeks earlier at most sites. This has been due largely to the unseasonably mild, sunny days. Daytime temperatures have been in the 60s with some excursions in the 70s and the solar radiation is warming the soils to signal springtime to the plants. Flowering plants around the region have been blossoming weeks earlier than normal.
By early June, most varieties were through fruit set and the continuing warm spring is driving vine and fruit development strongly. At that point, another early harvest appeared likely. And, unlike the outlook at the beginning of the year, harvest yields could be high again this year, based on the quality and quantity of fruit set. It is unusual to have three strong years in a row, but this could be the exception.
Seasonal weather continues to be optimum for fruit development and ripening. With no heat, or cold, spikes, the vines have been developing their berries with no interruptions. Harvesting commenced in August, 1-3 weeks early for most vineyards. Moreover, the yields are coming in strong again for the third year in a row. It's been a long time since we were blessed with a string of 3 outstanding growing years.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the first varieties coming into the crush pads. Syrah will soon follow and then Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.
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