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Frost warning hits northern SLO County vineyards

Much of northern San Luis Obispo County is under a frost warning for Thursday night and Friday morning which means it could be a long night for wine grape growers.

And thanks to the smartphone world we live in, vineyard managers could be woken in the middle of the night by a frost alarm app on their phones if the temperature dips further below freezing.

As the afternoon sun sets over the Alta Colina Vineyard in the Adelaida wine growing region west of Paso Robles, the cold, hard reality of the season’s first major frost warning sets in.

“Its true, it kind of heightens the awareness of pretty much everyone in the industry around here especially if they are still hanging grapes, they’re a little worried”, Alta Colina Cellar Master Paul Lopez says.

Like everyone else in this world famous wine growing region, Lopez is keeping close watch on his vineyard.

“We do get some air movement up here, especially at higher elevation, we’re not too concerned about extremely hard freeze”, Lopez says, “it would have to take something in the below 25 area to really affect us up here.”

With the grape harvest over, the vines are moving into dormancy with Mother Nature taking over until the Spring pruning season begins.

“You can still damage your vines with a hard freeze which will affect next year’s crop”, Lopez says about monitoring the vineyard during a frost warning, “most of what we’re looking at coming is about 32 degrees on average in this area you might in some of the lower elevations get to 30, 29 maybe, and you can be affected by that, but these really hard ones are when they get down to 26, 27, 25, then you’re really affected, so I think we’re going to do okay in this area.”

Lopez says managers will water their vineyards to protect the grape vines if the temperature falls far enough.

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