Spring has sprung in the Grand Valley, thanks to unseasonably warm temperatures. This could mean an earlier start to the growing season for local vintners, who are hoping that early budding on the vines does not get pinched back by a late spring frost.
Under the headline, "Winemakers Keep Close Eye for Early Signs of Spring," Grand Junction Daily Sentinel Reporter Dave Buchanan writes:
"Meteorologists are calling it unseasonably warm weather, but it’s not quite warm enough to break a sweat on grape growers."
"A sweat not from exertion but from anxiety as some of vineyards in warmer areas may be showing some early signs of spring, much to the consternation of winemakers and meteorologists who know better."
"An e-mail from a winemaker in the North Fork Valley reported some buds already swelling, a curious sign because grapes generally don’t bud out until much later."
"This late bud break makes grapes less-susceptible to spring frost damage. Not immune, mind you, but less likely than cherries, peaches and other stone fruit that start developing buds in early March."
"A quick survey of some area grape growers didn’t raise any consternation from growers since there is so much diversity in where Colorado wines are grown."
“I was out doing a little pruning last week and didn’t see anything,” said Doug Vogel, owner and winemaker at Reeder Mesa Vineyard southeast of Grand Junction. “It’s a little earlier than I normally do, but I had some workers come by and decided to get a start.”
"Vogel said his Riesling vines, which may benefit in the hot summers from cooling breezes off Grand Mesa, are “in great shape” without much winterkill."
"One sign of an early bud is the “bleeding” of sap from cut branches and vines."
"So far, there’s little of that to report."
"Winemaker Jenne Baldwin-Eaton at Plum Creek Winery said she hasn’t seen anything to concern her."
You can read more about the warm March weather and what it means for Colorado's vineyards here.