Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bloom is here!

Finally, the vineyard is in bloom! We walked (actually, we ran) down the rows and enjoyed the most subtle, delicate and fragrant scent of the vine flowers. The first caps have detached and set is around the corner.

You couldn't believe how fragrant the scent of these vine flowers is! The brown spots are the detached caps. The cluster on the left has not  bloomed yet.

We ran into this huge gopher snake on the ground while walking the vineyard -- can you tell it just had eaten a gopher?? :-)

The vineyard crew is busy removing unwanted shoots -- which you can see on the ground

We are definitely ahead of 2011 (probably by about 10-14 days) and 2010, which is a good thing. The last two years have been so late! But we are behind 2007, 2008 and 2009; however, slightly ahead of the 10-year average.
This is the peak time of work in the vineyard, to get the vines properly trained for best results at harvest: shoot positioning; removing extra shoots from the cane; suckering (i.e., removing the 'suckers' or shoots that grow off the trunk);  weeding, mowing and cultivating the soil; moving up the wires to accommodate the growing shoots; and after set, pulling leaves to open up the canopy.  With the warm weather, the vines are growing quickly and a myriad tasks are required -- but the crew is doing a phenomenal job and the vineyard looks wonderful!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Bloom is coming close!

Yesterday we went to our Sonoma Coast Vineyard, Doña Margarita -- things are happening quickly there, too!  The vineyard team is working as fast as they can to remove the suckers and keep the vines tidy, so the unwanted shoots do not sap out the vine's energy; we want them to concentrate that on the fruit!  With the hot weather this week, the vines have come a long way; we expect bloom to happen in a couple of weeks or so. This is our favorite time, because the entire vineyard exudes the most wonderful scent of the grape flowers!

Look how long the internodes are! That's because of the growth spurt due to the warm weather. It's been either rain or hot this spring!

That's back-breaking work, but necessary -- removing the suckers, which you can see on the 2 left vines that are not cleaned up yet