Thank you Blake Leja and Peter Plaehn for your responses on Lindsay Brown last week, much appreciated!
This week: Rain
How can the timing of rain during the growing season impact fruit quality? Specifically describe important periods of the growing season and the causes, effects, and resulting actions that can be taken by vineyard managers in response to rain (or lack of it).
The timing of rain impacts the decisions a vineyard manager must make. As Peter eluded to... do you pick earlier before the rain hits, or wait it out? Do you spray and take a conventional approach, or do you stand your ground and deal the cards Mother nature dealt that year? The decisions are not only "business" decisions, but also environmental and spiritual. For example if you look at the 2014 vintage in Barolo, it was very wet, lots of rain during the spring and early summer. a few producers decided to pull leaves during berry set and open up the canopy to avoid unwanted fungus (ex. bunch rot). Suddenly there was a heat spike and a majority of the exposed clusters became sun-burned.
A lack of rain throughout the year can cause an early pick, depending on what the winemaker is looking for in his fruit. It can also force the vineyard manager to irrigate depending on the chosen farming practices or beliefs.