It's no secret that this spring has been cold. Our average high temperature since April first is just 69.7 degrees. We've broken 80 just six times, and not recently: our last day over 80 was May 12th. We haven't hit 90 yet. Those who know Paso Robles will recognize how unusual this is. The temperatures have been even colder than last year (which averaged 70.4 as the high over the same period).
Adding to the lateness is the frost of April 8-9, which knocked back the earlier-sprouting varieties like Grenache and Viognier and forced them to resprout more or less in sync with the later ones. Over all, we figure we're roughly a month behind on the early varieties and a couple of weeks behind on the later ones.
All that said, the vineyard looks great. All the rain we received last winter (including an amazing 1.6 inches this past weekend) along with the relentless work that Neil, Ryan, David and the vineyard crew have been doing, have allowed the vines to push vigorously despite the chilly weather. Cluster counts on the frost-impacted varieties look solid, and I'm hopeful that we won't see the roughly 40% decline in yield we expect from frost-damaged blocks.
While I was out in the vineyard this morning, I saw the first signs of flowering, in the Grenache. Grape flowers are not very exciting to look at; more of a white fuzz on the clusters than anything overt. But it marks the start of the ripening cycle and always makes me happy. A Grenache cluster, about half-flowered:
The weather is finally supposed to warm up this week, with a forecast for sun and highs in the 80's. That would be most welcome, as we try to catch up after a late start.