Santa Lucia Highlands Harvest Update
In a Harvest Update Zoom call on September 19, 2023, moderated by Gwen McGill, winegrowers of the Santa Lucia Highlands candidly discussed their growing season. Annie Lee of Morgan highlighted the impact of the abundant winter precipitation: it resulted in heightened vigor in the vines and the cover crop. Lee mentioned that bud break at her Double L property occurred in late April, with flowering in early June. She was pleased with the fruit set and shared that the unusually high precipitation and delayed bud break called for intensive vineyard work in May and June.
Lee reported that due to this year's weather patterns, there is a reversal in the ripening between their lower and upper fields, with the lower field ahead this year. Lee also indicated that despite an initial thinning of the green fruit to aid the ripening of remaining clusters, the vines are so fruitful they'll go through a second thinning process. With all these factors considered, she anticipates a delayed but bountiful harvest.
This report illustrates that while Lee and other winegrowers are navigating substantial changes due to this year's weather conditions, careful management can help growers adapt to Mother Nature's curveballs.