Drought? Did you say drought?

Estate Blog

Drought? Did you say drought?
What drought…. I don’t see any drought….

Oh, how easy it is to forget about drought after a winter like this one. With this winter’s torrential rainfall, the questions flood in like: “how does all this rain affect the vines?” “will this affect bud break?” “how will it affect the wines?” etc. Well, I admit there were periods of standing water in many of vineyard for days on end. There were overland rivers through vineyards as well. As I write, the vineyards are still saturated and hard to get into with our tractors. The good news is that we needed the water and the vines are dormant during the winter.

The standing water does not affect the vine while the vine is dormant. The typical scenario is the water recedes by the time we have bud break. The challenge however, can be pruning in this mucky mess. The access to the vineyards is greatly diminished and only by foot. In vineyards where storm runoff created an overland river, vines can be washed out, gullies created and a deposition of silt, sand and debris left in its path. Fortunately, none of our vineyards suffered such calamities and our vines all got pruned by mid-March.

People often ask “when is bud-break?” Tongue in cheek, I tell them it’s March 15th. Of course, I say this in jest, as there is a broad window of time for actual bud break that is dependent upon location and variety. I went out to one of our Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards today, March 15th and took this picture:

The beginning of Spring in the vineyard!

Bud-break always charms my heart. It is a rebirth, the beginning of Spring and the cycle begins anew.

Time to grow!  If you want a plant to grow, give it plenty of water and nutrients. That is exactly what Mother Nature did this year and left alone, we will have a jungle of vine growth. We will control the jungle by pruning, shoot positioning on the trellis, removing unwanted shoots and succoring shoots that pop up from the rootstock. We will be doing this work often as we go through spring, the initial work will be mostly complete by the time we get into bloom which will be late May. Bloom, set and summer… a topic for next time we talk. Enjoy the new releases….