The warmer temperatures are here, and spring is inevitably on it’s way. On the western slope of Colorado the cherries and apricots are starting to bud out, with a litany of fruiting trees and vines to follow. The grape vines have been pruned and are ready for bud break, which typically occurs around April 20th.
Last year at this time our landscape looked very different, the land was parched and dry, very dry. The snowpack was at record lows throughout Colorado and the entire west, naturally leading to dusty lands, fewer wildflowers, stressed trees and vines, smaller amounts of water in our rivers, and reservoirs that look empty.
In fact, Colorado Reservoirs are going to be starting this spring at their lowest levels since being originally filled, even with the above average snowfall this winter. It was exciting times for the ski towns of Colorado, as we saw historic avalanches running all around us. The above average snowfall will begin to fill the reservoirs, which in turn can be used for farming and growing produce on the Western Slope of Colorado.
These two regions supply much of Colorado with fruit, such as peaches, apples, plums, and of course grapes for making into wine. This is great news for Colorado and meeting our water needs within the state. Although most water managers believe we will not fill our reservoirs this summer due to the parched earth from previous years, increased water usage, and down stream shortages.
How might all this impact grapes within our state? Well thats hard to say. We do know that water is vital for shoot growth, vine health, and optimal leaf conditions. All of these factors ultimately impact the quality of the fruit, which directly relates to the quality of the wine.
In the wine world folks often refer to the ‘Goldilocks Condition,’ where the earth is the perfect distance from the sun, allowing for the right water balance on earth to sustain all life… plant and animal.