NewsLocal News


Heat wave brings early harvest to some vineyards

The heat wave is causing some vintners to harvest early
Posted at 8:24 AM, Sep 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-12 11:24:01-04

Because of the recent heat wave, some wine-makers are saying the warm temperatures caused their grapes to ripen early, and it is affecting their harvest schedule and business.

Wolff Vineyards' owner Jean-Pierre Wolff says his team is picking two weeks earlier than anticipated.

“It's sort of a perfect storm where, you know, big picture of a crop this year, at least in this part of the Central Coast, is going to be a lighter crop,” he said.

That could affect the price of wine. Wolff says in recent years, California saw a surplus of wine but now with fewer grapes, people may notice a change at the checkout.

“In terms of quantity, you know, I would say we’re probably down on an average by 20%,” he added.

Wolff explained that they anticipated a lighter crop due to years of the drought, but this year is worse than expected. The heat wave caused the grape clusters to ripen earlier while the vines and clusters dehydrated.

“So in this case... price would go up a bit because you would have less of a surplus in the bulk market dealing with wine brokers,” he explained.

Wolff measures the sugar content of a grape to track the ripening. “Generally, you’re looking at sugar levels and then making the estimate, okay, next week it’s going to go up by X percentage. So you can forecast that a little bit," Wolff said, adding that he remains hopeful. “I think the quality will be very good, but I always say tongue in cheek that my banker likes quantity.”

Wolff did say that the years of drought caused deep dehydration in the roots and that salt has built up in the top soil.