SOLEDAD, Calif. - The extreme heat might be bad for many things, but not necessarily for some Central Coast wineries in the Salinas Valley. Crops like lettuce and broccoli have a hard time surviving in temperatures reaching 100 degrees and over, but here on the Central Coast, wine grapes thrive in it.
The wine industry is big business on the Central Coast, mainly because wine grapes thrive in this unique geography.
"Ideal place for wine grapes, soils, and then you have the effects of the Monterey Bay so you get cool mornings, warm afternoons, and then you get a wind that also then has another cooling effect," said Director of Vineyard Operations with Scheid Vineyards, Greg Gonzalez.
So no matter how hot it gets, the pacific ocean's cooling effects will always save the day.
"Our best wine-growing regions tends to be closer to the coast. Napa and Sonoma, Monterey, Paso, Santa Barbara...they're all fairly close to the ocean. and in those areas, you get your higher-quality, higher-priced wines," said Central Avenue Vineyard's General Manager, Paul Johnson.
But don't think that high heat isn't needed. It helps wine grapes thrive in many ways, including killing off mildew.
"You're trying to stop vegetated growth and start getting it into building that fruit, building the sugar clusters. It's beautiful right now. It's this heat that we need in order to get that quality that we want come August, September," said Gonzalez.
It's beautiful, as long as that heat stops around mid to late August.
"Near harvest, it can be problematic. It can kind of take what would normally be a long time to harvest grapes and shrink that into a shorter period," said Johnson.
But right now at the beginning of summer, it's time to hit the beach, fire up the BBQ, and maybe pour a glass of wine.
"It's the perfect time to come out and see vineyards right now. There's fruit, there's beautiful canopies, beautiful weather, beautiful views, we're up here in the Santa Lucias, this nice little bench, you get to see the entire valley, see what's going on. It's just a beautiful area to grow grapes," said Gonzalez.