North Bay Business Journal

Monday, March 25, 2013, 5:57 pm

Napa Valley growers anticipate earlier vine spring

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    Growers are anticipating the 2013 Napa Valley winegrape season will begin with substantial emergence of vines from a winter nap in the last week of March, just ahead of the start of last year’s record crop, according to a major local trade group.

    This event, known as bud break, is anticipated to come four days ahead of last year, which could point to an earlier harvest if a number of other vine and weather factors cooperate, according to Napa Valley Grapegrowers. Since fall, the rainfall tally is 26 inches, deemed a “normal” pace and about the same as last year’s, according to three of the organization’s directors –Paul Goldberg of Bettinelli Vineyards, Remi Cohen of Cliff Lede Vineyards and Amy Warnock of Orin Swift — brought together in a Yountville vineyard Friday for a season preview.

    More rain is expected this spring, following stretches of clear, warm weather this winter. Yet, the long-term forecast is a “hot” summer, a change from mild to cool temperatures in the past few years.

    Other highlights from the briefing:

    • Fifteen percent of Napa County’s 45,800 acres of winegrapes are being replanted.
    • High demand for the county’s cabernet sauvignon grapes pushed average prices last year to more than $5,000 a ton, an increase of more than 8 percent from the 2011 average.

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