High chilling hours mostly helpful

The Arctic Express cold that caused more than $800 million damage to the state’s citrus crop in January was basically beneficial for grapevines, providing plenty of chilling hours.

But in some coastal areas temperatures dipped into single digits, and there was concern about cold injury.

“At this point we don't believe we’ve had any damage from the cold weather,” says Jason Smith, Valley Farm Management, Soledad, Calif. ”We were concerned about some new plantings from last year in Hames Valley, where we had three days of temperatures in the single digits. We’ve cut into them and they still have green, so we believe we’re okay. Until bud break in a month or so, we won't really know if we have any damage or not.”

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