Rain in the Vineyard- a wet winter means what for our wines?

Although it is practically summer, we are still hearing the same great questions in the Tasting Room just about daily- What does all the rain we’ve had mean for our vines?

Thankfully, we have our Proprietor and Vineyard Manager Kyle Lerner on hand to provide some insight into what to expect for the coming year and your 2017 vintages!

What has been the impact of all the rain this year?

wet lot 2017

In our business, rain is always a good thing. We’ve experienced less than average rainfall the past few years, which has had a negative impact on the vineyards and caused the vines to be very stressed. It’s kind of like running a marathon and missing some water stations along the way. We’ve had to help them with additional irrigation to allow more moisture reach the roots. In contrast, this year has been great because it’s kind of a catch-up year. We average about 12 inches of rain a year and in most areas of the Lodi appellation and we are at around 30 inches this year. We now have full soils that are saturated!

What do the vines do with all the rain? How does this change your approach?

Moisture can push very deep through the root zone so that the roots can reach and receive nutrients. The stress has been taken off of them and right now they are in party mode. On the farming side, it may present its own challenges; the vines are extremely happy and have a full moisture profile, so they are going to come out very fast and robust. We’ll approach our farming strategy differently in order to burn off some of that energy and maintain vine balance. Techniques like shoot-thinning, cluster-thinning and leaf pulling may be slightly delayed so that we can allow the vine to use up some of that energy and slow down growth sooner. Basically, our farming practices have been flip flopped somewhat to accomplish the same thing – healthy, happy vines producing at a steady pace.

With the influx of so much rain this season, what is happening in Lodi’s vineyards?

Harney Lane is very fortunate to be faring well, thanks to our location. Some vineyards that reside along the Mokelumne River have been under water for quite some time, due to the outflows of the Comanche River. These may continue to sit under water over the next couple of months. We are located a few miles south of the river, with very sandy soils that allow water to penetrate well. Consequently, we expect a fantastic season and wines coming in 2017.