Update on Napa 2016 vintage,
First half of the 2016 season illustrates the effects of warmer temperatures in a context of low water deficit due to high rain supply earlier from El Niño.
The 2016 vintage is a unique opportunity to tease apart the effect of warm temperatures alone while water deficit is very limited or absent.
Since no water deficit occurred before and during leaf area development while heat accumulation happened at a fast pace, we observed a very rapid vine growth.
Between the end of vine growth and veraison, assessing the level of vine water deficit pre-veraison is important because it affects fruit size, fruit aromas and tannin at harvest. Climatic demand over that period was similar to the previous 2 years. A similar climatic demand while a higher water supply is observed resulted into a milder water deficit.
|Veraison seen in Napa mid-July|
The lack of early water deficit will lead to higher average berry size at harvest. The rapid vine growth rate is typically associated with larger cluster size. Additionally, the nitrogen supply conditions last year enhanced the development of cluster primordia before bud break. All those conditions have contributed to the higher yield potential observed so far.
Over the following weeks we will track color accumulation in berries which have already been programmed by the early season to reach a larger size at full maturity. How will those conditions affect enological properties of the fruit at harvest? What will be the effects of light and temperature at modifying fruit quality potential between now and then? It is still too early to say … But we will keep you updated ! Stay tuned …
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