by Henry Lutz
The dull roar heard in the distance before dawn Tuesday morning was not helicopters or an invading army of locusts, as some Napa Valley newcomers might have feared.
It was the sound of grape vines surviving the night.
With recent nighttime temperatures approaching freezing and the threat of frost looming over budding vines, Napa Valley growers have turned on their wind machines — devices that stir the air, thwarting potential damage to young, tender shoots in the early weeks of the growing season.
by Jane Firstenfeld
Bay Area, Calif.—The Feb. 15 announcement that grapevines had broken bud in southern Napa County might have seemed like a boast to non-farmers. In fact, it sounded an alarm not just in Napa but throughout Northern California vineyards.
After a record dry and relatively warm winter dormant season, the early bud break—followed by persistent sub-freezing temperatures—forced some grapegrowers to switch from passive to active frost-control measures.
by Henry Lutz
Napa County’s grapegrowers are working to shield their early-waking vineyards from an extended frost threat, while coping with a lack of rainfall during what are typically the wettest months of the year.
Pushed by weeks of abnormally warm weather, vineyards in the southern Carneros region have begun to stir weeks before the typical onset of bud break – the appearance of shoots that will eventually yield grapes.
by Michael Livingston and Geoffry Mohan
Hoodies and jackets were the uniform for residents and commuters in Los Angeles pm Tuesday, as a cold snap had Angelenos digging for little-used winter clothing.
The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning for parts of Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, with the coldest weather expected from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday.
by Bill Swindell
Below-freezing temperatures that can damage Sonoma County’s $575 million grape crop before it even develops are prompting some growers to launch an unusually early campaign to protect their vineyards from frost.
Pockets of vineyards across the county have been awakened early from their winter slumber by mild, dry weather over the past week, leaving them vulnerable to frost damage.