Rain dampens harvest, drenches Plein Air

Growers had mixed reactions to Saturday’s sheets of rain, which dropped 0.35-inches, according to weather reports from Gen. Vallejo’s Home. Those with pinot and chardonnay left to pick felt the pinch of the weather; but because the harvest has been unseasonably ahead of schedule, most aren’t sweating the wet weather.

“We’re not too concerned about it,” said David Cook of Cook Vineyard Management, which oversees 475-acres of Sonoma Valley wine grapes. “It happens this time of year.”

Meanwhile, the annual Plein Air art exhibit on the Plaza went on despite the downpour, and Plein Air board member Anne Ziemienski said “an amazing number of people showed up,” despite the weather. Exhibit boards, on which paintings were hung, were shielded by umbrellas and plastic sheets as artists and art lovers stood in the rain. By mid-afternoon the skies had cleared, the sun came out and Ziemienski declared the day a surprising success.

Cook, meanwhile, said he has cleared most of his vineyards of chardonnay and pinot noir, which have already been picked and processed for the season. These delicate, thin-skinned grape varietals are most susceptible to botrytis, better known as bunch rot. Growers always hope for wind after rain to dry the leafy canopies out and decrease the risk of rot, but Saturday went from wet to hot and humid in a hurry.

“There was no wind after Saturday’s rains,” said Michael Coats, spokesman for B.R. Cohn Winery. “I imagine people (with pinot and chardonnay) are picking like crazy this week.”

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