Well, it certainly has been awhile since we have last contributed to this blog section of the website. It would be easy to say that most of that has to do with the conscious decision to avoid the computer and devote the bulk of our time to friends and family over the holidays, the honest admission is that a bit of laziness played a factor as well.
In any case, hopefully this post will get everyone up to speed. For starters, the 2018 harvest was a huge success in terms of production, as yields were reported to be 20 to 30% above what is considered average. The only downside to such a haul is the potential glut put on the market; meaning there might be some issue on whether winemakers are going to demand as much supply for 2019 ... but we suppose that bridge will be crossed when we get to it.
As far as the current state of things in the vineyard, everything is meandering along as it should at this time of the year. The biggest and most laborious project is the pruning of the vines while they are dormant (and before bud break occurs in a few short months). Pruning may seem straightforward, it demands a fine attention to detail and many years of experience to develop a proper and consistent technique. Aside from just pruning back old wood to promote new growth, each one of our vines is also treated with a special pruning sealant to protect the vine from contracting any fungal diseases. When a cane or cordon is cut on a vine, we want to close the wound to prevent any infections from occurring. So, if you ever walk through a vineyard during winter and notice that the fresh cuts on a vine look like they have been painted, in reality it is essentially a band-aid to ensure the vine remains healthy and infection-free.
Above: Scenes from the vineyard on an mid-Winter afternoon.
Unrelated to pruning, another thing you will start noticing from the vineyards as temperatures gradually start to warm is the slow reemergence of wild mustard flowers erupting in-between the rows of vines. These flowers will engulf the vineyards in a few months time, and although they are very beautiful, their primary function is a lot more meaningful than just looking good in springtime. Wild mustard is one of the most common cover crops in wine country for the nutrients they return back to the soil when tilled over at the end of the season. In addition, wild mustard is a natural possessor of a bio-fumigant that suppresses nematode populations in the vineyard (nematodes being a type of microscopic worm that can potentially damage grape vines). So, if anybody ever makes any comment about how pretty the mustard looks in the vineyard, you can keenly inform them that it is a form of function rather than just being aesthetically appealing.
In the last little bit of current affairs, even though our main vineyard has been in operation in Carneros since the mid-1990's, in all that time we have never had any type of signage indicating who were were or what or business was ... until now. With the release of our own wines this coming year, we felt the time was right to become a little more "official" and erect a sign for a bit more name recognition. We now have a large, steel cutout sign to greet all of our visitors or people that might be passing by. Although we might have some bias, we think, and hopefully you'll agree, that it looks pretty awesome.
I suppose that about wraps things up for now, but as we continue to charge forward in this new year, it is guaranteed there will be plenty of new exciting things to share with everyone, so we look forward to connecting will all of you reading this not too far down the road. Until then, take care!