A smaller-than-expected grape harvest has led to less money in the hands of farm workers this year. Many growers thinned their crops this year, causing farm workers to complain that grape picking took longer and brought them less money.
The low returns caused many workers to sleep in their cars to save money. That led to lower occupancy in county farm worker centers. Napa County closed its 40-bed yurt village at Lake Hennessey last weekend and another center in Carneros will be closed this weekend due to dwindling occupancy.
The poor status of the crops can be somewhat attributed to a hotter, drier September. Many growers also continued a trend this season of allowing fruit to stay longer on the vines to promote more flavor development.