Managing vineyards is a never-ending responsibility. Napa Valley winegrowers must always remain aware of the changes in temperatures, rainfall, and the unpredictability of wind currents.
While many of us have been isolated during the current pandemic, vineyard managers and their staffs have been working aggressively to maintain healthy crop development. While the vineyards have been working hard it has not been the same without Hot Air Balloon napa rides floating above taking in the ever changing vines.
In any typical year, if all goes well, the end of spring follows the usual “budbreak” that occurs in mid-March and early April. Buds and vines continue developing during the subsequent weeks before flowering begins.
Grapevine Flowering Stage
Flowering in Napa Valley vineyards generally occurs in May, depending on the location and elevation of the vineyard. Grapevine flowering will appear in tiny bunches, and each of the tiny flowers will become a single grape. The flower clusters will eventually ripen into the grapes “bunches” that we know.
Vineyard managers must pay close attention during this period because a sudden drop in temperature may cause frost that can critically damage crop development. When temperatures reach this level, crews work feverishly to protect the flowering vines, often using fans to circulate the air to prevent the frost from developing. Sometimes vineyard managers choose to spray the vines to create a protective layer of ice or activate heaters to warm the area.
The May temperatures of the cooler vineyards of the southern Carneros area can be up to 10˚F cooler than in the northern appellation of the Calistoga area. These temperature differentials can cause the flowering stage to vary by several weeks throughout Napa Valley.
Awaiting the Fruit Set
While Napa Valley balloons usually are drifting above the landscape during late May or early June, the self-pollinated flower clusters begin to shed their tiny leaves, and small round spheres develop at the end of each little stem. These clusters start to take on their recognizable appearance as the grapes mature during the warm, dry summer.
The fruit set stage is a critical phase that will indicate the likely outcome of the annual crop. Weather and other factors can impact the yield, even at this time. A lower-than-average fruit set at this stage will signal a less robust harvest.
It should be noted that Napa Valley vintners choose to use only the best grapes from any harvest. Not related to weather or other conditions, Napa Valley’s ultimate usage tends to be only 50% of the crop harvest compared to the amount other California wine growing areas use.
Fly in a Hot Air Balloon Napa Valley
Although much of the regular activity has been curtailed during the current pandemic, residents of Napa Valley look forward to reopening later this summer. The Valley has not been the same without the Hot Air Balloon Napa Valley Style rides floating throught the air each morning.
The perfect way to celebrate your upcoming return to Napa Valley is to purchase discounted Balloons Above the Valley Gift Certificates for your friends and family. For $169-per-person, you can enjoy the magnificent Napa Valley scenery as you float gently above the vineyards, estates, and communities.
Visit the Balloons Above the Valley website to purchase your discounted gift certificates for any future flight.
Also, don’t forget to add the optional post-flight Champagne Brunch and even an expertly curated Wine Tour to the package.
For more information, phone our reservationists at +1-800-464-6824.