The rain has stayed away in June, and it has been sunny and pleasant in the Sierra Foothills with temperatures on the cool side of normal–very much like last June. We haven’t seen any days with temperatures in the 100’s yet this year, and no one here is complaining. All of the varietals have now been through bloom, and the berries are visible and beginning their period of rapid growth, while shoot growth slows. Petiole samples from bloom have been sent off for nutrient analysis, with results expected soon. Weeds are having a field day with the moisture left by the late spring rains, but nothing that a mower and a few dozen hours can’t fix.
This year in the barbera, our most vigorous-growing varietal, we experimented with a “kicker cane”—a cane from the prior season that is not pruned off like it would normally be in the off-season. This single cane pushes all of its buds, forming an unwieldy, multi-branched structure which draws a lot of the vegetative energy of the plant for its growth, presumably at the expense of some growth in other shoots. The cane is then cut off like it normally would have been months earlier. While it added significant work to make an additional pass through the vineyard to remove the kicker cane, we think it may have been worth the effort to reign in shoot growth.
On the fair circuit, we are pleased to announce that our 2008 estate primitivo took a gold medal and “Best of Class” designation at the 2010 Amador County Fair Home Winemaker’s competition.