- Jul 7, 2009
- Reaction score
- Northern Nuevo Mexico
That was great, Mike. I'm all for a little more variety in CA grapes, so maybe that's a silver lining. What the article doesn't say is that CA will also face stiffening competition from states that were too cold, but are becoming more hospitable for cab. It'll be an interesting evolution to taste.
I have been in Florida for 18 years and we are getting cooler in this state. Hard frosts at 26 degrees south of I-4 is not an indicator of warming. We haven't had a hurricane season to speak of since 2006. I'm not arguing the warming trend out west but it's going the other direction here and the North East. Some of the farmers are noticing it too. Average growing season temp where I live is currently at 68 degrees, Top end for Cab Sav but still in the acceptable range. If it weren't for PD, you'd see them growing here.
Obviously it isn't true tropical plant because we can't even grow those in my location in Florida because tropicals die at temps below 50. Tropical Almond is a great example.As the climate scientists at the university have told me, weather and climate are two different but related matters. The weather in the SE is governed by the el Nino/la Nina cycle of the oceans. It is a cool spring in southern TN, too. We get these about every 8 years on a cycle (due to that oceanic cycle). I have kept records for my farm for 32 years, and this one is right on time.
That said, we left a tropical plant outside over the winter at my place specifically to kill it, and it is blooming up a storm this spring.
This is an interesting article about the climate trends, with maps. Scroll down to the U.S. portion.
Rising global temperatures are altering climatic zones around the planet, with consequences for food and water security, local economies, and public health. Here’s a stark look at some of the distinct features that are already on the move.e360.yale.edu
The ideal zone for cab is generally moving north, and the former Midwestern grape growing areas that were usurped by California may be hospitable to cab in the future. Since they have more available water, that could be a good thing.
Obviously it isn't true tropical plant because we can't even grow those in my location in Florida because tropicals die at temps below 50. Tropical Almond is a great example.
The thing with hardiness zones is, it is probably the worst metric of what can be used to grow perennials because no matter what your zone is, a plant has a kill temp and you can be in zone 10 and have one hard frost on ONE DAY that will kill a plant suitable for that growing zone. VinesnBines had made a recommendation in another thread (when it comes to grapes) to plant varieties well-suited for the lowest zone they would thrive in that are 2-3 zones below yours. I agree with this advice, Cab Sav for example is hardy from Zone 10 to zone 7. If you live in zone 6B (Which is the warmest in Michigan) that is the LAST variety I would plant in that zone.
Michigan is a state that has more micro-climates than most states due to the water that surrounds a large part of it. Florida isn't much different, it gets a lot hotter further north than it does here. Our winters are mild compared to Texas because the water keeps us warmer. It has the opposite affect in the summer, it keeps us cooler. The heat index that makes Florida miserable in the summer means nothing to plants, they can't "feel" that heat like we do. Air Temperature is air temperature to a plant. I scoff at these articles where you have growers growing Cab Sav in 6B because it's been slightly warmer recently due to string of mild winters. Sure, it's enough time to get a vine to fruit in it's second year but to say it will "survive" be "economically viable" have 180 days of "ripening time" consistently is a JOKE. I bet those grapes taste like lawn grass. Anyone that knows anything about growing grapes looks at these articles and laughs at them. These are vineyards that are wasting money just to be able to say "Hey, look at us" we are growing Cab Sav!!! and I'm looking at these idiots thinking you are one winter away from losing EVERYTHING.
Doing what they are doing is not serious farming. It's novelty farming for notoriety with massive financial consequences. They are going to lose ALL of their vines if they are planting Pinot Noir and Cab Sav exclusively. It's not if, it's WHEN.
I'm not going to turn this into some climate change debate because climate does change. The west is on a warming trend. No doubt about it. To say it is warming equally, everywhere is a bit of a false truth when you look at polar cap data. The antarctic ice cap for the previous 40 years prior to 2014-5 was increasing. It has only been decreasing the previous 5-6 years. That is not a trend in the making, that's our planet being itself. This has been going on since recorded history. It's the natural ebb and flow. We are not going to see Michigan become zone 9 in our lifetime even if it is a trend. That article was such rubbish.
So I let nature tell me what the cycles are. And it's is telling me that the interior of Florida has been getting cooler the last 18 years based on bud break. I have Pecan trees that are just now breaking buds but I also have grapes the size of large peas on the vine. Grapes seem to respond to warm temps quite quickly and that's probably why those clowns in Michigan are having luck, trees on the other hand require a certain number of chill hours and are a much more reliable source of information on what is going on over the winters as a trend when you see them finally wake up. May in Florida is like July in Michigan. We are already having 90 degree days. In those terms you would think the Pecans would have woken up weeks ago. They know more than we do.
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