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Emeritus Team
March 28, 2016 | Emeritus Team

What El Niño Means for Emeritus

You’ve heard it talked about by weathermen and news folks nonstop over the past several months…but what exactly is El Niño and, most importantly, how is going to affect your wine?!

El Niño means Little Boy in Spanish. El Niño was originally recognized by fishermen off the coast of South America in the 1600s, with the appearance of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean. The name was chosen based on the time of year (around December) during which these warm waters events tended to occur. The presence of El Niño can significantly influence weather patterns, ocean conditions, and marine fisheries across large portions of the globe for an extended period of time and tends to cause wetter-than-average conditions in California.*

According to Kirk, at Emeritus we expect to have vegetative growth for a longer period this year. We expect that because of more soil moisture. The grapes will have a longer ‘hang time’ on the vines and berries will be larger than we’ve seen in recent drought years. A longer hang time should cause increased phenolics (a wider array of flavors) in the berries. We also think that harvest to begin a couple weeks later than in 2015.

Nicolas and our cellar crew are looking forward to a different set of challenges with Emeritus’ first true El Niño vintage (the last big El Niño event in California was in the late 1990s – before we existed!). The challenge will be picking at the right time to balance the riper fruit flavors with the right sugar levels in the grapes.

Rainbow over Hallberg Ranch

Rainy winter day

Spring on Hallberg Ranch after all the rain!


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