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Sobering spring hits California wine grape growers

Wild spring weather has hit California's wine country.

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Wild spring weather across California's wine country has been enough to drive a vintner to drink.

From killer snow in the Sierra Nevada foothills to dry-season downpours along the coast to a hard freeze in temperate Paso Robles, 2011 is proving a challenging vintage.

"That's what makes this business so damned interesting," said Jim Fiolek, executive director of the Santa Barbara County Vintners' Association.

It also can keep winemakers up at night.

Jason Haas, general manager of Tablas Creek Vineyard near Paso Robles, said winemaker Neil Collins has experienced many sleepless nights this spring.

"These people who envy the winemaker's lifestyle should drive around here with Neil at 3 a.m. when he knows it's freezing and there's nothing he can do about it," Haas said.

Vintners have long joked that the weather is just like last year — different. But people expect to find constants in the nation's premiere grape-growing state.

For more, see: Calif. wine grape growers suffer a sobering spring

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