With bud break nigh, vineyard managers in Napa Valley are checking their frost protection equipment, testing old-fashioned wind machines like ours or more modern but water-intensive overhead sprinkler systems. With a crop as valuable as Napa Valley grapes at stake (excuse the pun), it's well worth rising for dawn patrol to keep the tender young shoots safe from frost damage.
Frost season in Napa Valley runs from bud break in March through early May. Frost protection systems can be run for days, while other years the vines are never threatened. But vineyard managers don't sleep well until frost season is over again.