Wet Weather Hurts Wine Country

The cool spring was bad, the wet June was worse. 2011 will be a tough year for regional wine growers.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    This year's grapes just can't catch a break.

    First it was the unseasonably cool spring that made the vineyards in Sonoma and Napa counties suffer. Now it's the rain, according to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat.

    The June storm that dumped two inches of rain on the greater Bay Area soaked vineyards in wine country and "likely lost [us] 10 to 15 percent of our crop," according to vintners.

    There's nothing but sunshine out in wine country's vineyards now, but the damage has been done, the newspaper reported.

    The late-season rain washed away some pollen and prevented some flowers from fully opening. That means that many vines that would be full of grapes later in the summer have not been fertilized, even though the weather "is now perfect for growing," the newspaper reported.

    Another bad year for grapes follows 2010, in which an August heat wave killed off some wine-producing vines.

    Chardonnay grapes, which bloom early, will be the first to show the extent of the damage. Warmer growing regions like Dry Creek and Alexander Valley will be the hardest-hit, growers there say.

    The grape market is recovering after a few slow years. However, two cool springs in a row means the vines in Sonoma County are programmed for another slow producing season next year in 2012.