Sunday night, August 15, proved devastating for our Elgin/Sonoita region grape-growers. For many, a horrible hail storm took out the majority of the 2010 crop.
First post on Facebook by Ann Roncone, Lightning Ridge Cellars: “Coming up on 11:30 Sunday night and the rain/storm coming up from the south is hitting us aplenty in Vail, AZ. Why are my weeds so much healthier than my plants?”
Kief Manning of Kief Joshua Vineyards chimed in, “Farming grrrrr! Life would be great if it weren’t for the weather.”
The reports began pouring in. Joan Mueller, Canelo Hills Vineyard posted, “3-inches in the gauge. Massive destruction of the vineyard.”
Kent Callaghan of Callaghan Vineyards defined the damage. “95% of leaf area is gone and most fruit sliced and diced … At least the ravens love it.”
Manning reacts, “… madder than a dog poopin’ peach seeds. Most of our fruit and leaves are now laying in piles on the ground, after the golf ball size hail and gale force winds … GRRRRR!”
Mother Nature can be so fickle. Rancone tells me, “As it happens, we didn’t take on the damage that Kent and others did Sunday night. Talk about monsoon ‘devastation’ taking on a finite/defined area-of-damage. We’re about a mile-and-a-half west of Kent and didn’t get anywhere near the damage that he and others got.”
Prayers and support have poured in from wine lovers all over. Perhaps Arizona Grape Escapes said it best, “Thoughts and prayers go out to all the vineyard managers in the Sonoita/Elgin area. Please help us support these folks by buying local wines from Dos Cabezas WineWorks, Kief-Joshua Vineyards, Kent Callaghan, Canelo Hills, Lightning Ridge Cellars, Rancho Rossa, Wilhelm Family, Charron, The Village of Elgin, and Sonoita Vineyards.”
Only last week, the same wineries were counting the days to harvesting their crops. Now it’s a massive clean-up in the vineyards. Would be a great time to be a raven?
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