Smoke, Extreme Heat Pose Harsh Test For West Coast Vineyards

Posted: Jul 13, 2021



The heat wave that recently hit the Pacific Northwest subjected the region’s vineyards to record-breaking temperatures nine months after the fields that produce world-class wine were blanketed by wildfire smoke.

But when temperatures began climbing close to 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 Celsius) in late June, the grapes in Oregon and Washington state were still young, as small as BB's, many still shaded by leaf canopies that had not been trimmed back yet.

The good news for grape growers, wineries and wine lovers is the historic heat wave came during a narrow window when the fruit suffered little, if any, damage. Earlier or later in the growing season, it could have been disastrous.

The bad news is that extreme weather events and wildfires are apt to become more frequent because of climate change. A less intense heat wave again hit parts of the U.S. West just about a week after extreme temperatures gripped the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia on June 25 and lingered for several days, causing what could be hundreds of heat-related deaths.

This cool, rainy part of the country normally experiences plenty of sunny summer days but winemakers are worried about what's still ahead amid a historic drought tied to climate change: Extremely high temperatures could hit yet again, and wildfires are expected to be ferocious.

By Andrew Selsky
07-10-2021
Source and complete article by: chron.com



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