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More water in the reservoir and a promising fruit set brighten season

China Agriculture Report By CnAgriChina Agriculture Report Print

Trusted farming industry news for : commodity information, growing analysis, news, and grape production trends.

She’s encouraged by how this season is progressing, thanks in no small part to late winter and early spring rains – the most she’s seen during the period in a long time. In fact, on the first day of summer her reservoir was still half-full of water. That’s the latest the reservoir has had any water in it since the drought began.

“In the past two years, you could see the vines were highly challenged by the dry conditions,” Callan says. “But this year I’ve been extremely pleased with how the crop set and how the vineyards are looking at this point. The vines look a lot healthier.”

She started the season’s first round of drip irrigation the third week of June, just after finishing removal of suckers. Callan expects veraison to begin around the second or third week of July. She’ll drop fruit as needed to achieve her yield goals of 3 to 4 tons per acre. This year’s harvest could start in the second week of August.

Like others in her area, she’s concerned about the availability and cost of workers to tend the crop.

“With a number of labor contractors here going out of business, we’re now getting most of them from the San Joaquin Valley,” she says.  “At the same time, the cost of workers keeps going up. It’s difficult for growers to raise the price of the grapes to fully cover the higher labor rates, because the wineries are limited by how much consumers are willing to pay for the wines produced in this area. As a result, more growers here are considering mechanical suckering, pruning and, possibly, harvesting of the fruit.”

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