55°
Light rain
FRI
 60°
 52°
SAT
 59°
 47°
SUN
 57°
 48°
MON
 60°
 45°
TUE
 58°
 47°

Sonoma County grape growers unfazed by rain

Sonoma County grape growers said Sunday's sunny and breezy weather should alleviate any major problems related to Saturday's unexpected downpour.

"I don't expect to see a lot of effect," said Chris Bowen, vineyard manager for Hunter Farms.

The biggest concern with the rain is that it could increase the spread of botrytis, or bunch rot, in particular with white grapes. Bowen said he still has some chardonnay left to pick.

Rainfall totals ranged from 0.15 inch in Calistoga to 0.80 inch in Guerneville. Santa Rosa had 0.40 inch of rain.

But with this week's forecast calling for more sun and seasonably warm temperatures, growers were feeling a little more at ease Sunday.

"If the vineyard is opened up and the grapes are exposed to the wind and sun, everything should be OK," said John Balletto, president of Balletto Vineyards & Winery.

This year's grape crop was predicted to come in sooner and bigger than average, which is about 200,000 tons in Sonoma County. The haul last year topped 266,000 tons of grapes, which were worth an estimated $581 million.


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