Finally we have had some days without rain, and last week we even had sunshine! We took the time last week to catch up on what is happening in the vineyards.
The early Chardonnay vines were out the week of 21st of March. As of last week, we have had a nice bud break in all the vineyards that Selene buys from. The two that are the furthest behind are the Frediani Merlot Vineyard in Calistoga, and the old Sauvignon Blanc block at Hyde Vineyards. Age definitely has something to do with how quickly things come out. Older vines come out later in terms of bud break.Â
I think Jim Frediani prunes the Merlot as late as possible for a couple reasons. Being in Calistoga where it is warmer, it can bud break earlier than everything else which makes it susceptible to frost, and it blooms earlier than anything else, so it could be subject to bad weather during bloom, which effect yields. So by pruning it late, he keeps bud break and bloom happening much later.
We have leaves on everything, but they are small on the Merlot and the old block of Sauv Blanc. Everything else has a few leaves, and is coming along nicely. You can see the pruning was good by the even bud break all around. Iâ€™m happy with that.
With the vineyards that Selene buys from, you can walk through them without getting mud on your feet. It wonâ€™t be too long before tractors will be going in and taking care of cover crop either by mowing or spading it in.
The place we saw the best example of a good cover crop was the vineyard we have been calling Blue Oak Vineyard, but we are changing the name to Dead Fred Vineyard (since Blue Oak Vineyard is being used by a few other vineyards and wineries). Fred was the vineyard ownerâ€™s cat, and had been with them for a long time, and found his resting place underneath the blue oaks overlooking the vineyard.
Anyway, Mike Wolf, the guy who manages the vineyard, has a really nice mix for his cover crop. He has peas and vetch and even some bell beans. Itâ€™s a pretty cover.
We saw some dragon flies and pretty flowers on the sweet peas, as well as some pea pods. Itâ€™s a great legume crop for building up nitrogen in the soil.
Weâ€™ll be keeping a close eye out for some powdery mildew as the weather warms up. Early this week it looks like we will be overcast and cloudy, but very little if any rain. When things warm up and itâ€™s a little moist, thatâ€™s when we need to be careful.
Then we will look for signs of bloom in a few weeks, and what kind of weather we get with that.