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Viticulture briefs

The Napa Valley wine grape harvest is forecast to be of average yield but high quality, according to the Napa Valley Grapegrowers.

Lower than average rainfall, combined with a warm spring and a heat wave in late June and early July, is producing smaller berries and loose clusters — a signal of high quality, the group said. The weather, including a lack of damaging frost and higher degree days than last year, will result in a harvest that is 10 to 14 days earlier than 2012.

“It was not an easy year,” said Jon Ruel, president of Napa Valley Grapegrowers and COO of Trefethen Family Vineyards. “The weather forced us to respond to the vintage at hand, rolling out a variety of viticultural practices quickly and earlier than usual in order to ensure a great crop. This year proves grapegrowers have to be ready when the grapes are, not the other way around.”

The Sonoma County Winegrowers will hold a meeting on vineyard water conservation research findings and methods taking place in Alexander Valley.

The meeting, which is free of charge, will be held on Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. at 4001 Cellars located at 4001 Highway 128, Geyserville.

The information presented is from the Western SARE Grant research project, which is currently managed by the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission in conjunction with Rhonda Smith, UCCE viticulture farm advisor, Mark Greenspan of Advanced Viticulture, and Tom Gore of Simi Winery. David Huebel of Hafner Vineyard and the Sonoma County Water Agency are also participating.

RSVP by Tuesday, to www.sonomawinegrape.org/waterfieldday

For more information contact Karen at 707-522-5862 or karen@sonomawinegrape.org.

Australia allows California grape exports

Table grapes from California have earned some new customers, in Western Australia, according to the California Farm Bureau Federation.

The provincial government in Western Australia has allowed California table grapes to be imported under the same rules that exist for the rest of the nation.

Grape growers in Western Australia had resisted the imports, which will enter the nation during Australia’s off-season. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it helped negotiate the expansion of the Australian market.

Compiled by Cathy Bussewitz. Submit items to cathy.bussewitz@pressdemocrat.com.

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