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!