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Lodi-Woodbridge swings into harvest

Lodi-Woodbridge grape growers are finding out what the impact of the early season wacky weather will have on the 2008 vintage.

“We are full speed ahead into harvest now,” says Mark Chandler, executive director of the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Association in Lodi, Calif. “After the frost in April, and the unseasonable heat wave in May, we have had the most incredibly perfect growing season with highs in the mid-80s to low-90s for the last three months.”

That spells consistency at harvest.

“Everything seems to be ripening almost at once,” Chandler says. “We are harvesting white Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay. Some early Merlot is coming off already too. Most of the reds like Syrah, Cabernet and red Zinfandel are a few weeks away.”

It’s not all good news.

“The frost severely damaged some vineyards,” Chandler says. “In some cases there will be no harvest, or only a ton or two per acre. We think this will reduce the total area yield by about 15 percent. Quality is excellent.”

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