— In Northern California’s wine country, the 2015 harvest has arrived shockingly early, amid years of drought that have progressively shifted vines’ growing season earlier into the year. The San Francisco Chronicle reports Sunday winemakers are scrambling to keep pace, and many worry about the financial implications of an extremely low-yielding crop.

Many growers of Pinot Noir in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, and in cool pockets of Santa Barbara, are already well into their harvest.

John Bucher, of Bucher Vineyard in Healdsburg, says that he usually starts picking Pinot the first week of September but this year he’ll be done by the end of August. Despite the small crop, 2015 wine prices are not expected to rise since premium wine producers can generally absorb the costs incurred by lower yields because their bottle prices are high enough.

Image courtesy of abc7news.com

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