California grape growers faced a variety of challenges in 2022. Technical Services Manager for UPL North America, Katie Driver described the year as being a “wild ride” for agriculture. A frost that came through in the spring resulted in some substantial damage depending on the region. Driver said the frost wiped out some grape crops and forced some tough decisions for growers.
“It’s not a secret that we’re dealing with a years-long drought, so managing water has been an issue I think for everyone. This year, especially when those freezes came through, some growers were having to choose between splitting water for frost protection or to make sure that their vines got sufficient water,” said Driver. “When we moved throughout the season, we also had some higher heat that came through the summer which pushed some of the harvest for our winegrapes a little bit earlier.”
So far, harvesting is reportedly looking a bit lighter this year as a result of the production challenges growers encountered. Late rains caused some disease flare-ups in most areas of the state. Driver said that powdery mildew was “ever-present for everyone this year.” Now in early November, grape growers will set their sights on managing winter diseases. Driver noted that it is also a good idea to start planning ahead for the next season, to avoid any potential issues with material availability.
“When you start looking at next season those are all things that are going to typically show up in your vineyards and it is a good idea to start thinking about placing those orders sooner than later,” Driver noted. “To make sure that you have your hands on it when you need it. I think everyone is used to some of those logistical hiccups that have been happening over the last three or four years. So being prepared is always a good idea.”
Listen to the full episode below.