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April showers and temperatures mostly good news

Spring cold snaps are causing some frost concern around the state, but so far no real threat has materialized. Even the foothills of Calaveras County were not appreciably affected by recent snowfall at 3,000-foot elevations just above many vineyards.

“We didn’t have any frost last Wednesday (April 11) even though there was a little snow at elevations right above us,” says Matt Hatcher with Hatcher Winery in Calaveras County. One of his vineyards is just south of Angels Camp at an elevation of about 1400 feet. “It didn’t get cold enough and we had enough wind to keep us fairly protected,” he says. “However, they are still forecasting a few storms that could be cold enough to cause us problems.”

On the northern coastal region, the rain provided welcome relief to growers who need to replenish reservoirs. Temperatures stayed well above frost levels for an added bonus.

“Last week’s temperatures fell into the 30s,” says John Enquist, president of Mendocino Winegrape and Wine Commission. “It wasn’t a big deal. We’re a lot more worried about getting enough rainfall. We’re probably 33 percent short of where we should be at this time of year. If we don’t get more soon, it’s going to be an issue.”

That could be good for winemakers and consumers, but not entirely good for wine grape growers. “Right now, we’re looking forward to a season with some pretty intense fruit,” Enquist says.

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