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Foxen Winery: Crops remain safe from California wildfire smoke

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY, Calif. - Growers at Foxen Winery said the delay in harvesting is good news for them.

"In the last year quality of the fruit has been absolutely exceptional ... it's like a crockpot harvest," said winemaker David Whitehair of Foxen Winery.

In other words, harvest is going slow, just the way growers want it.

"We are super pleased with the quality … the berry sizes are small that bodes really well for the quality of the fruits … so far we’ve only brought and maybe half of our Pinot Noir," said co-owner Jenny Williamson-Dore of Foxen Winery.

Dore said the cooling nights have been great for their crops.

"What that marine layer does is it slows everything down ... it provides some moisture on the leaves ... and it provides great acidity for the grapes," said Dore.

Since there has not been any major heat spikes, growers said there has not been a need to rush into grape picking.

So far, managers are seeing average yields and excellent quality of the pinots.

As many parts of California have been affected by wildfire smoke, Dore said Foxen Winery is grateful that their crops have not been affected.

"Oh yeah if you get a fire close by where it’s heavy smoke ... called smoke tank … that hasn’t been an issue for us in Santa Barbara County," said Dore.

When it comes to harvesting, for these winemakers, love is in the air.

"I love it ... I love the smells of the fermenting grapes ... love the anticipation ... everything about it ... it’s just wonderful ... for us it’s the beginning of the year," said Dore.

Crews at Foxen Winery will continue to harvest the grapes throughout the next few weeks.

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.

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