For Arizona winemakers, Monsoon season is both a welcome change and an obstacle. As harvest nears for those of us in the Tucson and Phoenix wine valleys, deficit watering has been underway, so the heavy rains throw off that process a bit. The extra water can cause the grapes to expand rapidly, so rapidly as to rupture the berries, releasing sugars and opening up a buffet for microorganisms, birds, and wasps, among others. For tight-clustered bunches, the Monsoon rains also increases the chances of bunch rot.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Who, in the desert, could complain about these sights and sounds?