Vineyard Diary-3-11-14

The severe drought gripping California, including the Sierra Foothills, finally gave way to some substantial rain in the last 6 weeks.  Over 7 inches of rain fell gradually over a 4-day period from February 7-10, and this seemed to pave the way for a series of smaller storms, averaging one per week, that collectively have given us an additional 4-5 inches of rain.  Coupled with warmer days and nights, the hillsides have quickly greened to the sort of beautiful spring landscape that one would expect to see in the Sierras.  The sights and sounds of wild turkey performing their spring mating ritual is further proof of imminent spring.  Some red table grapes we grow have already budded, and budburst appears imminent in muscat blanc, our earliest-budding wine grape varietal.

Notwithstanding the recent rain, neither we nor the rest of California is out of the woods in terms of water, though the recent precipitation has certainly helped fill the soil profile and should assure a pretty normal (if early) start to the viticultural season, weeds and all.  The question remains how depleted the deeper water needed for irrigation later in the year– accessible by our well–is and whether we will run into shortages in late summer.  For that reason, we continue to hold back on production from a portion of our barbera vineyard, taking a wait-and-see attitude.  However, we are feeling more optimistic, and those wishing to secure small quantities of barbera from us for 2014 can contact us to be put on a waiting list.

In the vineyard, we are almost ready for the start of the growing season, with winter pruning complete, the prunings mechanically mulched, and weed control sprays complete.  We are in the process of supplementing individual vines throughout the vineyard with potassium, and then we will do routine maintenance of tying vines and digging out persistent in-row weeds that we can see best before the grapevines leaf out.  All-in-all, we are in great shape for the coming season.

Our 2014 primitivo production is almost sold out, and our Quinta field of mixed Portugese varietals is fully committed.  Still available for sale is the ~1.5-ton production of our non-Quinta field of touriga nacional.

On the commercial wine front, we are pleased to announce the release of the 2012 Due Vigne de Famiglia primitivo, a vineyard-designated wine made from our grapes.  Due Vigne produces many fine Italian varietal-based wines and has a tasting room in the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg, CA.  We look forward to great things from this wine.