Mark Clarin, Livermore Valley winemaker at McGrail Vineyards. Best known for winning the best of class at the San Francisco Chronicle 2012 wine competition for his McGrail 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, said he is concerned.
Recently Clarin saw water seeping from a fresh cutting on a vine. This is the first sign of vines waking up from their dormant period. Buds could soon follow. This is a concern because it's not March yet and there could still be another freeze. Winter is not declared to be over yet. Jim Ryan, of Concannon Vineyard, has started irrigation. Irrigating now will provide ice crystals to protect the vine from frost.
Napa and Sonoma, unlike the Livermore Valley, will use large fans. They do not benefit from the winds that the Livermore Valley experiences.
A close watch will be kept on the Livermore Valley vineyards for the next five to six weeks.