Winemakers are expecting a late harvest this year and some think it is because of the intense summer heat.
Grapes are changing from green to red which means they are getting sweeter. It is something called veraison.
Grapevines don’t do well when it gets too hot or too cold, so grapes will be harvested later than in previous years.
Prolonged harvests and exposure to heat usually affect quantity not quality. Some vintners lose crops to sun damage.
"Unfortunately, the drought has had negative aspects on farming but a positive aspect in that we have very, very small, intense grapes and we are making really, really beautifully dark wines," said Ben Mayo, winemaker for Riboli Family Wines.
Vineyards in coastal regions such as Avila Beach are also experiencing sun damage, something those winemakers aren’t used to.
"It is a new phenomenon to have these small spikes. We saw it this year where some fruit was damaged, but not a lot," said Mike Sinor, winemaker at Sinor Lavallee Wines in Avila Beach.
Different vines could all ripen at the same time which would mean prioritizing certain varietals over others. It would also mean stress on workers and production.
Vintners in Santa Barbara County also said their harvests are a few days to a couple of weeks behind. There are also some reports of sun damage.
Harvest time really depends on the vine and winemakers’ preference.