Lodi Vintners Worry About Crops As California's Warm Weather Continues

Posted: Feb 13, 2022

Growing grapes in Lodi can oftentimes feel like a gamble.

"Being a grower, you're in mother nature's hands," Sean Stafford, Cabana Winery's cellar master said.

And with the warmer weather Northern California is currently seeing, it has led to some premature growth known as 'bud break'. Usually, growers see 'bud break' around mid-March, Stuart Spencer with the Lodi Winegrape Commission said.

"Bud break means that the vine wants to start growing and it's a little early. It's a little too early," Stafford said.

A concern many farmers face is the dry conditions.

"We had a good flush of rain in the fall, but we really haven't seen much wet weather in recent months and the ground is pretty dry right now," Spencer said.

The hotter weather may mean a smaller harvest, which may lead to higher costs for you.

"I think in the long run you're going to see start seeing price increases on bottles. It almost has to happen," Spencer said.

Other challenges Cabana Winery has faced include inflation and the costs of production, Sean said.

"The prices of everything is going up. Trucking, everything," Stafford said.

The increasing costs to operate vineyards, have also forced some vintners to remove their crops, and replace them with other crops such as pistachios, almonds and walnuts which are cheaper to grow.

"The establishing costs of a vineyard was running about $25,000 an acre and 10 years ago we were looking at that at being $15,000 an acre," Spencer said.

Stafford is now preparing to prune Cabana Winery's Galt and Lodi vineyards come Saturday.

"It's going to be bad if we get a frost in between now and spring," Stafford said.

Now all he can do is wait and see.

By Kay Recede
Source and complete article by: kcra.com

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