Pat Shingleton: "wine Weather and Thunderstorm Asthma..."
The massive California wildfires compromised many vineyards in the Napa and Sanoma Valleys. Their loss is ours as well for not only choice wines but grape juice as well. Sugar, acid and more than 200 flavor components give each grape a variety of characters. It's what makes your Riesling crisp and your Cabernet Sauvignon rich. Weatherwise Magazine reported that as grapes ripen through the summer months, sugars accumulate and acids diminish. In the final weeks before the harvest the flavor compounds erupt and through the delicately balanced, weather-dependent process, the magic occurs. Too much heat and the sugars quickly develop before the flavors arrive. This results in a wine that is alcohol heavy and low in acidity. If the temperatures aren't high enough the grape won't completely ripen and the flavors are stunted and your merlot won't have a mellow glow. Grower's love a long, slow, warm and dry season finale. In closing, researchers determined that thunderstorms rupture pollen grains that release allergens that are then scattered by strong winds. Studies documented the link between asthma and the numerous episodes of thunderstorms. Scientists from the University of Georgia and Emory University determined that the number of hospital visits for asthma-related problems in Atlanta increased after thunderstorms. The medical journal, Thorax, reported that hospital data from 20 counties in the Atlanta region matched data on thunderstorms, total daily rainfall and wind gusts at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport during the same period. This research assisted in preparing strategies for treatment and prevention.