Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Been a long time

Wow, a lot has happened since I last wrote this up... I'll skip the really intricate details; but in summation; it finally stopped raining at the end of May and the sun came out for a little bit, the vines, having stressed and suffered their way through the cold wet weather, finally shot upward and the caps came flying off the flowers.  We all watched anxiously to see what wold become of the highly fertile start to the year, and overall, much to our delight, most of our blocks and clones set up very well.  It has been an absolute whirl-wind ever since.  The canopy was growing, seemingly, out of control.  As fast as we could make the rotation, we would have to double back and start the next round of tucking shoots and moving wires, and as soon as we could finish with that, bloom/set was over and it was time to start clearing leaves and laterals out of the fruit zone.  Then it was a delicate dance with when to hedge the vines.  The canopy was beginning to double over on itself... too early and we would be right back doing it again, too late and we would begin to loose light on the shaded side of the canopy and leaves would begin to drop.  With just the right balance of hand hedging and tractor hedging, we were able to knock out the entire estate in an organized timely fashion and the growth slowed precisely at the right moment.  As growth slowed the canes began to lignify and the fruit has begun to show some color.  Some of the soil moisture sensors started to show adequate drying and the time was right for a quick blast of water.  We are watching closely now as the fruit is slowly moving through veraison and when the time is right, we will remove the last 5 to 10% of the fruit that remains green at the end. 

Every now and again the sun visits us for the afternoon.  The theme of this year has been and continues to be long morning fog layers and low clouds hanging around into the afternoons.  It would be best if it would warm up, just a touch, but not too much at once.  With Pinot and Chard out there, I'm not too concerned about the late harvest, it should lend itself nicely to the acidity in the wines.  But, I'm feeling that we will be in a rush again after harvest to get the cover cropping done and erosion control in place, bird netting gathered up and put away, before, what is likely to be, an early fall season.  I'll let you know.

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