Friday, March 04, 2011


Is Spring here? You would think so by the warm, sunny Bay Area weather. I expect one more bout of cold, wet, windy weather before we actually hit that magical, yet arbitrary Vernal Equinox beginning of Spring.

I say arbitrary, not because it is picked out of the air, it is actually very precisely defined as the instant that the axis of rotation of the earth is not inclined (pointing) away from or towards the sun. It is the day where the length of daylight is roughly the same as the length of night. But I consider it arbitrary because the things we think of as harbingers of Spring don't pay any attention to that precise day. My grapevines have already started to show little fuzzy nibs that will soon bud and form canes. The temperature in the winery is warming up enough that the secondary, malolactic fermentation cultures will wake up and finish rounding out the sharp edges of last years Chardonnay vintage.

The only thing that is lagging is my motivation to begin my Spring time activities. Just after the new year, I went out and rough pruned the vines. Each of the vines are now starting to take on their own individual shapes and personalities. I was able to leave a few spurs on each arm, and choose arms that are roughly leaving the cordon in the direction I wanted. In the next few weeks I will do a fine pruning to select the 2 spurs that will become the basis of this years harvest.

I will be a bit more proactive this year on mildew protection. The sun and weather patterns on the vineyard have been very conducive to powdery mildew, and it has robbed me of much of my yield. This year, the goal is to break that cycle.

Watch this space to see how well I can follow that plan.

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