[12 March/ Stuff]

Grape growers are hoping for more sun and less rain during harvest. Rainfall this late in the season increases the risk of disease, gives the canopies another growth spurt and risks delaying harvest slightly due to the dilution of sugar. Dog Point Vineyard Viticulturist Nigel Sowman said botrytis was the biggest risk following rainfall. Botrytis is a fungus that thrives in wet, humid conditions, causing loss of fruit where it takes hold. Mr. Sowman also commented that those that had already started harvesting may have been set back by a day or two due to the rain. Mr. Sowman further added a few windy, hot days would reverse any grape sugar dilution because of extra water being sucked up by vines, and things would be back on track.