AM Live Ag Report

FRESNO, Calif.

Ag inspectors found five melon fruit flies in Kern County last week. The flies also attack oranges, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. Containing the insects requires a quarantine to be established, restricting the movement of plants to keep the pest from spreading.

This is the first time melon fruit flies have been found in the San Joaquin Valley. Officials suspect a tourist may have brought them into the country in fruit that had not been inspected.

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Many California farmers say their crops are running anywhere from 10 days to two weeks behind a typical schedule.

Ag experts say a mild summer on the heels of a cool, wet spring has pushed back crop development in many parts of the state. They say this may or may not turn out to be a serious problem, depending on weather in September and October. Early rains could cause damage if crops don't ripen in time.

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The weather has also affected Napa Valley wine makers. While it's been cool this year, winemakers are optimistic about this year's vintage.

It's just another weird summer morning in the Napa Valley -- Fog on the mountain, grapes on the vines, and winemakers contemplating this season of local cooling in a time of global warming.

"Usually this time of year we're in the mid-90's. This year, in the mid-80's," said John Conover with Plumpjack Vineyards.

Whatever the cause and effects, Napa Valley growers and winemakers met with reporters in an effort to calm fears, and squash rumors about how 2010's odd weather will affect the next generation of wines.

"I would say we are two weeks behind a typical warm vintage," said Conover.

It is not the nature of any winemaker to ever say a vintage will be bad because of the weather. They're paid to work with what nature gives them. By that standard, this year could be special, they say, because the conditions are so unique. Each vintage has its own signature

At Trefethen Vinyards, John Ruel has been working around, and with, the weather all season. In times of less sun, he has his workers trim more leaves. To assure better quality grapes, they might let a few more fall to the ground.

The good news that this year's slow warming hasn't spiked the sugar content as it usually would. The danger is that later ripening will mean a compressed picking season, possibly into November, when the rains come.

"A day of rain is a little problem. A week of rain, well that could be a problem," said David Beckstoffer with Beckstoffer Vineyards.

But history shows a big upside. Vintners say previous cool seasons produced some of the most distinctive vintages in recent memory. A matter of less that could yield more.

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