Saturday, July 25, 2009

early veraison

the rains stopped, and everything dried out in July. The vine have stopped putting their energy into growing shoots and have now turned to ripening the fruit. It's so dry, in fact, that grampa has been watering the new vines in lot 12 by hand this week. It amazes me how quickly the situation can flip from soaking wet to drought in a few short weeks. I'm sure the excessively well drained soils have something to do with it.
The red grapes are already beginning to take on color, and the whites are turned from their young green to translucent yellow. All this is happening a good two weeks earlier than last year--quite a surprise to me. This season has been unusually cool and led me to think veraison would be delayed, if anything. It could be the lack of very hot days (95+ degrees) has meant the vines have been able to put energy into the fruit a lot more, rather than shut down because of the heat.
This adds an interesting twist to our expected first commercial harvest this fall: The winery may not be ready to process the grapes if they come in two weeks earlier than expected!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

growing like vines

host: This season is so wet...
sidekick: how wet is it?
host: It's so wet the cordons are growing roots! (queue laugh-track)
host: It's so wet everything is growing like vines! (queue laugh-track again)
host: Lot 11 looks like someone dropped a hundred pounds of fertilizer on it! (queue raucous laugh-track)
sidekick: Yiii-yoh!
host: The mildew has a rain jacket! (more laugh-track)
host: The ground hogs wear swim goggles!
sidekick: fertilizer...heh!
host: Seriously, though. Tomorrow, I'll be spraying the vineyard from a canoe! (and the laugh-track)
sidekick: don't forget the life jacket!
host: [quizical look at sidekick] I...[another quizical look]...I was walking through the rows today when a group of lateral shoots surrounded me. I thought they wanted my money, but it turned out they wanted to pay me to prune out a group of competing laterals. (queue raspberry-track)
sidekick: how much?
host: A vineyard manager from California stopped by the other day and said "dude, you forgot to turn off the water." (applause)
sidekick: and the fertilizer!
host: [to sidekick] careful where you step. (laughter)
sidekick: uh-oh. I need some boots. (less laughter) That's a wet season!
host: It'll take a heroic effort to produce a quality crop this year.
sidekick: you can do it.
host: [dissenting look at sidekick] Thanks for the vote of confidence. So you'll help?
sidekick: I don't drink wine. (queue laugh-track)
host: Oh, you just have a bottle collection in your dressing room, I suppose.
sidekick: I don't drink wine in rainy weather.
host laughs.
queue the band.
host: we'll be right back folks!