April observations from California vineyards

Vintage Update

Now that we have hit bud break, the Fruition Sciences field team is noticing differences in shoot length. For most of the valley, we are seeing about 3-4 inches of shoot growth. Of course, the differences in shoot growth are influenced by many factors such as meso-climates, varietals, vineyard practices, etc.

One of the most obvious factors that makes a difference in shoot growth is thus vineyard location. As we drove across the entire state of California, we were able to see pretty obvious visual differences. For the Napa area, the hills are farther along than the valley floor; Carneros is farther along than Napa; Coombsville is slower than the rest of the valley; and Paso Robles is only a little bit farther along than Napa.

One of the major differences we have seen is between Temecula (Southern California) and Napa. Temecula has over 2 feet of shoot growth. This level of growth like is expected in Temecula, which is about 100 growing degree days ahead of Napa and had less cool rainy days than Napa, which means budbreak occured earlier accoridng to the civil calendar.

Despite all the cool rainy days that we had this winter, it looks like most of our vineyards have dried out. However, we are still seeing a few puddles here and there, especially after another spring shower. The ground seems to be soft, but we are not sinking in like we were this winter. For Napa at this same civil calendar time we are about 50 growing degrees behind last year, but it is hard to tell if it will stay that way.

Other things we have noticed: everyone is spraying for mildew and/or pests. There are many more bugs than previous years. About 60% of mowing has been completed with some tilling. Most places are making their first suckering pass.

We are expecting faster and higher shoot elongation rates this year due to the higher rainfall and nitrogen levels. Have you been measuring shoot elongation rates? How is this year comparing to others?

Click here to check out the previous Fruition field team report for February 2017.

Fruition Sciences offers a full suite of products addressing a variety of vine health monitoring needs to enhance fruit and wine quality. Our DualexⓇ Signature product provides detailed nitrogen accumulation profile so that vineyards can apply fertilizer where it’s needed. Dualex recently won the 2017 Wine Business IQ Innovation Award.

Photo taken on 4/14 in a Paso Robles vineyard

Photo taken on 4/17 in a Napa vineyard

Photo taken on 4/18 in a St. Helena Vineyard

Bud break across California vineyards

Stephanie Zamorski

Stephanie graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelors in Biological Sciences and a focus in Environmental Sciences. Previous jobs and school courses gave Stephanie experience in quality control, lab work, horticulture, environmental sciences/studies, bioenergy, sustainability, and office management. Stephanie joined the Fruition Sciences California team as a field technician upon graduation in 2014. Later that year, she was promoted to the role of Technician Manager, where she manages the field team, oversees quality control of field equipment, manages the data collection process, and assists in office management responsibilities at the St. Helena office. Being from the Midwest, Stephanie loves the California weather and the ability to work for a company that is focused on the wine industry and the environment.

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