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Wineries Start Harvesting Crops Affected by Drought

Harvest season has started for local vineyards, which means its time to see how the drought has affected this year’s crop.

Carhartt Winery in Los Olivos has been harvesting grapes for almost two decades.

“We are so dependent on Mother Nature, so of course the drought has effects on grapes and the whole water situation in California is going to be effecting the industry,” said owner and winemaker Brooke Carhartt.

This year with the severe drought, their vineyard has seen the effects.

“What I’ve noticed in our vineyard in comparison to the last two years, which were massive harvests, is that there’s a drop off in crop production,” co-owner and winemaker Chase Carhartt said.

Chase said their vineyards should be OK because it helps prepare and taper back the vines for next year’s growth.

He also noticed less green canopy growth and smaller berries, which could make for some good wine.

“It very well could make for a great vintage, because if you have a smaller berry size, you have less water weight inside that berry. So what juice is in there, becomes very concentrated,” explained Chase.

The original Carhartt vineyards were planted in 1996 by Brooke and husband Mike Carhartt.

Now, almost 20 years later, their son is taking the reigns after earning his wine and viticulture degree at Cal Poly.

“I’ve been making wine for a long time, but to have him making wine along with me and along side me, it has just been amazing,” Brooke said.

And the knowledge between the two is hard to find.

“Why my mom, the pair, of my mom and myself is so unique is because she has been working on this vineyard with this fruit for the last 18 years. That you cannot repeat,” said Chase.

The winery makes around 5,000 cases of wine each year, and grows six different types of grapes on their property.

And even though this year might yield a smaller crop, they are still optimistic about the product they will put in the bottle.

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