April Frost Spares La Vista
Farmers and the local weather aren’t always on the same page as evident in early-April’s nocturnal frosts in the Paso Robles area. The first week of April saw spring temperatures within normal ranges, and then, with little warning, a cold front emerged with nighttime temperatures dropping from the high 30s to 24 degrees in some areas. It’s estimated that vineyards in the Paso Robles AVA may lose 30 percent to 50 percent of the 2011 crop as a result.
Thankfully, La Vista Vineyards suffered little or no damage from the recent hard freeze that hit much of the surrounding area. We credit this to a bit of luck, and a microclimate-driven block layout, which puts early budding varietals (Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Malbec and Viognier) at the top of most ridges, and late-budding varietals (Zinfandel) in the coldest valleys and draws.
Initial concern that the Viognier, spanning from the top of a ridge to the cooler valley along Las Tablas Creek, may have suffered some slight damage at the bottom is laid to rest. After a careful examination of the vines we are confident that the quality of the Viognier fruit will not be impaired as frost burn affected some leaves but none of the blossom clusters.
All of the blocks are now fully budded out with some shoots reaching as long as 12 inches, and we expect another fine crop of high-quality premium wine grapes. Fingers crossed for cooperative weather for the rest of the season!