Smoke and extreme heat put a strain on West Coast vineyards

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Vineyards in the region have been exposed to record high temperatures nine months after recent heat waves that hit the Pacific Northwest hit world-class wine-growing vineyards with smoke from wildfires. At the end of June, the vines in Oregon and Washington were still young, as small as BB, and often covered with uncut foliage. The good news for viticulture, winegrowers and wine lovers is the arrival of a historic heatwave. When the fruit is barely damaged in a narrow window. The tragedy may have happened sooner or later in the growing season. The bad news is that climate change tends to frequently cause extreme weather events and forest fires. About a week after extreme temperatures hit the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia on June 25, and only a week later, less intense heat waves hit parts of the western states again. -United, with hundreds of people. There may have been heat-related deaths. Some parts of the country typically have plenty of sunny summer days, but wine growers are worried about what still awaits the historic drought associated with climate change: extreme temperatures. The wildfire is expected to be fierce, with the possibility of another attack. This includes Christine Claire, manager of Willamette Valley Vineyards in Turner, just outside of the Oregon capital. She saw a rare breeze last September that choked the Willamette Valley, famous for its delicate Pinot Noir, with smoke from the nearby flames. “Last year was my first experience in the Willamette Valley, which was hit by forest fires and smoke. Claire said: In recent years, wineries around the world have moved to cooler areas and theirs. By planting such varieties, they began to hedge their bets on global warming and its consequences. Likewise, following the heatwave in the north-west, the estate plans to protect its crops from more intense sunlight. At Dusted Valley Vintners in Wallawara, Wash., Co-owner Chad Johnson says the leaf canopy is pruned to keep the grapes in shade and prevent sunburn. Very hot mornings. Workers who are limited to work leave more grapes on the vine, slowing fruit ripening, Joe Nson said in early summer in eastern Washington near the Oregon border. I haven’t seen a thermometer above 100 degrees Celsius (38 degrees Celsius) in the city for a few days. Johnson has had an unprecedented career since making wine here for 20 years. June 29 was the hottest day in Walla Walla history, reaching 116 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Fahrenheit), twice as high as previous records. Climate change Johnson says he’s become a concern major for him and other winemakers around the world. “If it weren’t for that horrible early spring frost in Europe this year, it would be a dry forest fire in the west.” Johnson said: “C ‘is always something, “” and it gets more and more difficult with each passing year. “Mentioned. Meanwhile, the industry is summing up the damage from last year’s wildfire that covered heavy smoke California, Oregon and Washington I tried testing the fruit to see if it was worth harvesting for the nasty “smoke spots” of wine made from grapes. Some testing laboratories were overwhelmed and could not meet demand. wineries have chosen not to risk damaging the brand by turning some of their grapes into bad wines and have stopped accepting untested grapes from producers. The California Wine Grape Producers Association said in an email. Industry estimates suggest California growers lost $ 601 million from unharvested wine grapes. It’s very annoying for many growers, ”said Aguile, noting that heat, drought, frost, excessive rains, pests and diseases also need to be addressed. You can try to minimize the damage. For example, some grapes exposed to smoke can be turned into rosé instead of red wine. This limits contact with the grape skins during winemaking and can reduce the concentration of smoked aromatic compounds. Many wineries are excited about the 2020 vintage, according to a California harvest report from the San Francisco-based Wine Institute. Corey Beck, CEO and head of winemaking at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma County, Calif., Said he was optimistic based on small batch fermentation testing. Wine Institute.Willamette Valley Vineyards also fermented small samples of grapes to determine if the smoke affects the resulting wine. The 2020 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir vintage received accolades from Wine Enthusiast magazine. However, winemaking is so difficult and competitive that when he asks Johnson for advice on entering the industry, he tries to discourage them. “It’s probably not a good idea,” he said. “It’s really, really hard, and it’s getting harder and harder.”

A recent heat wave hit vineyards exposed to the Pacific Northwest in the region to record temperatures nine months after smoke from a wildfire blanketed world-class wine-growing vineyards.

However, when temperatures started to climb to nearly 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius) in late June, the Oregon and Washington grapes were still young, as small as BBs, and most leaves uncut. It was covered with a canopy.

The good news for viticulture, winemakers and wine lovers is the historic heatwave between the narrow windows where the fruit was barely damaged. It may have been disastrous at the start or end of the growing season.

The bad news is that extreme weather events and forest fires tend to be common due to climate change. About a week after extreme temperatures hit the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia on June 25, and only a week later, less intense heat waves hit parts of the western states again. -United, with hundreds of people. There may have been heat-related deaths.

This cool, rainy part of the country usually has plenty of sunny summer days, but wine growers are still concerned about the future of the historic drought associated with climate change. Extremely high temperatures can strike again and forest fires are expected to be fierce.

That includes Christine Claire, winery manager at Willamette Valley Vineyards in Turner, just outside the Oregon capital. She saw a rare breeze last September that choked the Willamette Valley, famous for its delicate Pinot Noir, with smoke from the nearby flames.

“Last year was my first experience in Willamette Valley, which was affected by forest fires and smoke. It was considered a unique oriental event in the century, but it is now under threat every year. I think there are, ”says Claire.

In recent years, wineries around the world have hedged their bets on global warming and its fallout by moving to cooler areas, planting varieties that excel in heat and drought, and covering vines with more than foliage. started.

Likewise, in the wake of heatwaves in the north-west, the estate plans to protect its crops from more intense sunlight.

According to co-owner Chad Johnson, at Dusted Valley Vintners in Walla Walla, Wash., Less canopy cutting is done to keep grapes in shade and prevent sunburn.

Workers who are forced to work on very hot mornings also leave vines on the vines, Johnson said, slowing the ripening of the fruit.

He had seen heat wave-like conditions in early summer in an eastern Washington town near the Oregon border, with thermometers rising above 100 F (38 C ) during many days. There are not any.

“It’s really unusual and unprecedented in my career because I’ve been making wine here for 20 years,” Johnson said.

June 29 was the hottest day in Walla Walla history, hitting 116 F (47 C), breaking the previous record twice.

Johnson said climate change has become a major concern for him and other winemakers around the world.

“If it weren’t for that horrible early spring frost that they are having in Europe this year, it would be a dry forest fire in the west.” Johnson said: “It’s always something and it gets more and more difficult every year.” Said.

Meanwhile, the industry is summing up the damage from last year’s wildfires that devastated California, Oregon and Washington. smoke..

So many California growers worried about the nasty “smoke spots” in wines made from grapes and tried testing the fruits to see if the crops were worth harvesting.

Some testing labs were overwhelmed and could not keep up with demand. Some wineries have chosen not to risk damaging the brand by turning some of their grapes into bad wines and have stopped accepting untested grapes from producers.

“Without a doubt, the financial sacrifice made to California winegrowers has been unprecedented,” John Aguile, president of the California Wine Grape Growers Association, said in an email.

According to industry estimates, California growers have lost $ 601 million from unharvested wine grapes, Aguile said.

“The risk of forest fires seems to be greater today than in the past, which is very annoying for many growers,” said Aguile, who said the heat, drought, frost, strong rains, pests and disease also said it had to be tackled. .

There is little that wineries can do to prevent wildfires outside of premises, but in the event of a smoke flood you can try to minimize the damage. For example, some grapes exposed to smoke can be turned into rosé instead of red wine. This limits contact with the grape skins during winemaking and can reduce the concentration of smoked aromatic compounds.

A report on the California harvest from the San Francisco-based Wine Institute said many wineries were excited about the 2020 vintage, despite the challenges.

Corey Beck, CEO and head of winemaking at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Sonoma County, Calif., Said he was optimistic based on small batch fermentation testing.

“It was like, ‘Oh my god, these wines are great,'” Beck told the Wine Institute.

Willamette Valley Vineyards also fermented a small sample of the grapes to determine if the smoke affects the resulting wine. The 2020 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir vintage received accolades from Wine Enthusiast magazine.

However, winemaking is so difficult and competitive that when he asks Johnson for advice on entering the industry, he tries to discourage them.

“The first thing I do is probably tell them it’s not a good idea. It’s really, really hard, and it’s getting harder and harder, ”he said.

Smoke and extreme heat put a strain on West Coast vineyards Source link Smoke and extreme heat put a strain on West Coast vineyards

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