Global Warming takes a year off (in California)
It seems that global warming can result in a cooler climate in some areas or else Nature is playing tricks on us.
The polar ice caps are still melting yet this year in California, the cooler regions of our state barely got enough heat to ripen grapes. But in the central valley where we typically worry about too much heat, 2010 was a welcome relief. Most of our grapes are white which ripen earlier. Ripening 2 weeks later, in mid September instead of August, was no problem. On the contrary, there were benefits: Respiration of malic acid increases with temperature. Thus a cool year translates into higher acidity at harvest. There is also an effect on aromatics. Assuming the grapes attain full ripeness, cooler temperatures give increased aroma levels. And there is also a shift in the type of aromatics: Orange Muscat is more "orange blossomy" and less "apricoty". Muscat Canelli has more "grapefruit" and less "peach". In summing up the year, our winemaker, Michael Blaylock, looked at his records from past years where he has been keeping track of Veraison (the date of berry softening):
“Spring and grapevine bud-break gave all indications that 2010 was going to be a very normal growing season in Madera County. Veraison told another story. Reviewing 17 years of accumulated data from Quady Winery, veraison in our Muscat vineyards proved to be the second latest ever. This, of course, translated to a harvest that was a full two weeks later than normal, and pushed the white and early grape harvest into somewhat crazy scheduling conflicts with the deliveries of red grapes at the crusher. Work schedules really were 24/7 for everyone. All things considered, there was a “silver lining” in that the longer, slower growing season resulted in grapes that developed incredible aromas and flavors with outstanding acid and pH levels.”