Summer in the vineyard, is a time for hard work during warm or hot sunny days. Though, it also is a time where we breathe a sigh of relief and or assess the damages of spring. This spring was just about perfect and has set a nice path for the rest of the growing season.
During spring, which is my favorite time of year, I wake up every morning and go to bed every night with just a little, well much anxiety over what could go wrong. How can this be my favorite time of year, you ask…
The colors, sky so blue, grasses so green and the vineyard coming back to life, sunset graces our property with incredible colors and a vista that sooths the soul. In the morning the smell of the breeze coming down out of the sierra, bringing cedar and pine aromas is just as refreshing.
All this serenity is mixed with the anxiety of frost watch, while soft green shoots are emerging in the vineyard. During May I am watching for storms as the vineyard goes into bloom, the aroma of bloom is incredible but at the same time, all that bloom could be knocked off by a hail storm. It takes about a 10 days for all the varietals to start and finish bloom so typically you will find me glued to the Doppler if there is a storm bearing down on us. When in this mode, you will hear Sharon ask “how’s the Doppler honey?”.
When summer approaches, I am excited about what’s to come but there is a part of me that is already missing the great things that spring brings, it outweighs the anxiety that much.
Summer also means there is much work to be done and we get started by sampling leaves and petioles, the small stems that connects the leaf to the cane. These samples are sent to the lab where they analyze the nutrient status. The lab has given us a report confirming the vines are healthy and we have been giving them all the love they need to produce some great fruit and the fruit has set well.
We are now in management mode, suckering laterals and dropping leaves to ensure balance in the vines. Balance in the vines at various stages in the fruits development is essential to the quality at harvest. Berry size on the first day of summer looks good and in the coming days we will be opening up the east side of the canopy to let light into the clusters, helping to develop the fruit.
During the growing season we will continue to assess and manage the canopy based on the vine and berry growth, taking into consideration ongoing weather conditions. Some ask about the cost of wine and why it can be so expensive and like in the case of many things produced by hand it’s labor, labor, labor.
Is there really a price though that can be put on passion?