Frostwatch - The Name
Bennett Valley's climate may be dominated by marine influences during the growing season, but in the early spring and late fall the local climate is more continental in nature and diurnal temperature fluctuations become more extreme. Chilly air sloughs off the face of Bennett Peak and settles over our vineyard, it's further "down valley" progress impeded by a low ridge at the back of the property.
In the early spring when the buds are swollen and new shoots are beginning to push we are frequently awakened in the middle of the night by an alarm that is set to go off just before temperatures dip below freezing. Brett bundles up and goes out to activate our frost control systems. Depending on the conditions, we will use either Cold Air Drains or Overhead Microjet Sprinklers that put just enough water on the vines to prevent damage. Every few years we have a really cold night and the alarm goes off shortly after we go to bed. When this happens, we wake up the next morning to find our fruiting spurs encased in ice and icicles hanging from the trellis wires. In the later part of October, temperatures will once again dip low in the early morning hours. The most visible impact of this fall chill is colorful foliage primarily in the lower sections of the vineyard.