Weather's Impact on California Wine - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Weather's Impact on California Wine

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In the heart of California Wine Country, PJ Alviso can't believe that his Napa Valley vineyard is already in bloom.
 
California's warmest winter on record left his grapes budding four weeks ahead of schedule. That means Alviso's grapes will have extra time to ripen on the vine, before they have to be plucked in November and that could actually improve the taste of the wine. "I think we may have the opportunity to do that this year - the really big, jammy cabernets and zinfandels that are really ripe, those wines for sure will benefit."
 
Since the 1960s, temperatures in much of the U.S. have increased 1 to 2 degrees. Meteorologist Eric Boldt says that's resulted in longer, warmer seasons and shorter, less intense colder seasons. "Most likely we're going to continue to have more numerous years of being above normal on the temperature range and that will continue our averages to be steadily higher."

The gradual rise in temperature could eventually threaten Napa's ability to make wine. And to Alviso that prospect is pretty scary. "We can't grow wine without grapes. We can't grow grapes without whatever Mother Nature gives us."

The government estimates over the next 40 years temperatures in the area will rise about four degrees. Some scientists believe that means the amount of land in Napa County - suitable for growing those world-renowned grapes - could be cut in half.
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