As farmers/grape growers we sometimes find ourselves complaining about any weather conditions that are not ideal, but a few days of bad weather does not a vintage make. Generally a cooler season is the most favorable, but a hotter year does not necessarily result in California style wines. Our “hot” does not compare with what California considers hot. As a result, I don’t suspect anyone will be producing “fruit bombs” this season, even though we had less than average rainfall and higher temperatures. Remember 2006? That was a hotter year, yet it produced bigger, more alcoholic wines. I see 2012 to be a comfortable blend of the 2006 and 2008 vintages. From what I’ve seen, most fruit coming in is not reflecting high alcohol due to high sugar levels. The end of September and October have been sunny and cooler, which have slowed sugars and aided in flavor development.
Low precipitation can be countered with irrigation, but we can still allow the characteristics of the fruit to come through. If the season is a drier one, then let that be reflected in the wine produced. It does not mean the wine will be of any less quality. It only means that it may not be the ideally balanced wine we would all love to produce each year.