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Is sanity returning to Napa?

An interesting write up about Napa vintner, Jim Verhey (Silverado Grapegrowers), in the Napa Valley Register today.

“The vertical trellis (VSP) craze of the 1980s and 1990s is giving way to split canopy systems and updated versions of the ‘California Sprawl’ because while the VSP trellis system works well in France, it doesn’t work as well in Napa Valley with the greater frequency of extreme weather events (eg, heat spikes)…”

Napa lies around the 38th parallel (think: Italy and Greece), while Bordeaux is around the 44th. This affects not only the climate, but the photoperiod and the amount of energy plants receive. No wonder Napa can produce blockbusters, relative to Bordeaux, every year. The trade-off is phenolic over-ripeness.

Goblet-trained vines in Southern California.

Goblet-trained vines in Southern California.

Hot climates need appropriate canopies – be that goblet, Double Lyre or California Sprawl.