>Sonora / Tuolumne News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown | Union Democrat

News Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Temps taking toll on grapes

Temps taking toll on grapes


April showers brought torrential rain to the foothills.

Calaveras and Tuolumne county wine grape growers say they haven't panicked yet over waterlogged crops, but they are watching vines — and clouds — with wary eyes.

Last month was the ninth wettest April since The Union Democrat began keeping records in 1886. Tuolumne County officials recorded 6.01 inches, and Calaveras County received 8.63 inches. In a month that usually brings an occasional storm and warming temperatures, Mother Lode residents finished it out with umbrellas and sweaters.

That makes wine-grape growers nervous.

Dolores Mast, who tends 6 acres of grapes at Brice Station Vineyards — 4 miles above Murphys — said she owns the highest vineyard in Calaveras County.

"I'm pushing the limits of farming grapes here," she said. "I'm on the potential edge of danger every year."

Mast said her biggest threat isn't rain, but frost.

"Some of the plants pushed out and the shoots were killed by cold weather," she said.

Farther down the hill in Murphys, Stephen Column, president and owner of Vineyard Concepts — a management and consulting company for vineyards and wineries — said he's just waiting for what wet weather can bring.

"There's bugs called thrips, and they have a tendency to chew on the tips" of the plants, he said.

That gnawing could slow or stunt vine growth.

Cool springs also keep Column looking out for fungi that cause shoot rot.

"It attacks the shoot, eats through it, then the shoot breaks off," he said.

Late rains can also mean good news for weeds, which re-grow in already-treated spots, Column said.

But compared with western Sonoma county, where Column once worked, this year's precipitation is normal.

What he worries about, like Mast, is the cold.

"The people who don't have frost protection are crossing their fingers," Column said.

Follow UnionDemocrat.com

Get Today's Top Headlines to your inbox

The Union Democrat print edition

The Union Democrat 11/28/15

View Paper

The Union Democrat is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Tuesday through Saturday. E-Edition or Print Plus subscribers have full access.


If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe today for immediate access. Circulation: 209-533-3614

View all The Union Democrat print publications

Weekender by The Union Democrat

Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties

Weekender 11/26/15

View Guide

Available online every Friday or get it early in Thursday's print edition.

View past copies of the weekender

Local / Sports / Business / Stocks / News of Record / State / Nation/World / Obituaries / Submit News
Editorials / Letters
Union Democrat Photos / Community Photos /
Search Classifieds / Jobs / Autos / Homes / Rentals / Place an Ad
Online Extras
Weather / Local Business Links / Community Links / Photo Reprints
Union Democrat
About / Contact / Commercial Printing / Subscriptions / Terms of Use / Site Map

© Copyright 2001 - 2015 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use