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2017 was a good year for Temecula winegrowers

By in Press Enterprise on December 29, 2017

By Fielding Buck

Among all the New Year’s Eve toasts Sunday night at Temecula Valley wineries, there could be a few to fete a bountiful year.

The wet winter of 2017 increased crop yields by at least 25 percent, and the overall quality of the grapes was exceptional, said Danny J. Martin, president of the Temecula Valley Wine Association.

Martin’s assessment is supported by reports that show both plants and people benefited from the rain and sun, given that a good bit of Temecula’s wine was consumed at nearly 1 million paid wine tastings in a year.

There is apt to be more sun than rain in the near future.

“The drought’s not over in Southern California by any means,” Martin cautioned.

Back to normal

“Vigorous growth” are words that appear throughout the California Wine 2017 Harvest Report, which is produced by the San Francisco-based Wine Institute and includes a section on the Temecula Valley.

Winter rains refilled reservoirs, replenished the soil and restored cover crops throughout the state, according to the report.

The report’s findings for the Temecula Valley included:

  • Yield increased to normal levels, 20 to 25 percent over 5,500 tons from 2016, when prolonged heat and sunburn cost vineyards to lose 30-50 percent of their fruit.
  • Normal timing for bud break due to a cool spring. Bud break is when vines begin to show signs of new life and usually occurs in March, according to the Temecula Valley Wine Association.
  • The hot summer triggered early harvest for sparkling wine grapes in mid-July, drove up sugar levels and stunted ripening for some varieties, but “early wines looked very good.”

“Rhone, Italian and Portuguese varieties fared well, and quality was solid for the vintage overall,” the report read.

The Wine Institute released its findings in November after devastating wildfires in Northern California. It found that vineyards and wineries in Sonoma, Napa and Mendicino counties were […]    

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