The monsoon season provides much-needed rain for the deserts of our state, but in the Verde Valley, that moisture also helps nourish a growing wine industry.
The high desert climate means a huge diurnal shift. That means the difference between the high and the low every day is pretty dramatic. The combination of cool nights and warm afternoons is the perfect climate for growing grapes.
Sam Pillsbury, the owner of Pillsbury Wine Company, says "it give the wines this fragrance and viscosity and intensity without making them super ripe, without being overly sweet and jammy. It's kind of like a secret weapon."
However, the timing of the monsoon rains isn't always a blessing. "It's an interesting thing because as humans living in the desert, we want as much rainfall as we can get," Luke Bernard of Page Springs Cellars says. "But Arizona averages 30 to 40 percent of its average rainfall within two months."
Picking season is often during August and September, and too much rain during that time can lead to mildew, mold, and rot.
And then there's the threat of hail. "I've seen hail in the early season tear off leaves in a vineyard before, which is all of its photosynthesis and shade canopies," said Bernard. Grape growers have had success in Arizona and said if they stay on guard for what the monsoon may bring, they'll end up with sweet success in the end.
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