Vineyard Diary 1-31-15

Happy New Year!

We began winter pruning operations yesterday, as it became increasingly difficult to argue that it was too cold, too wet, or too anything but time to get back to work.  In fact, we had a great break in vineyard chores after the early conclusion of last year’s harvest.

Though December was predictably cold and wet, January has been anything but.  The local weather broadcasters in the Bay area were using the “f” word –“flooding”–for a few days there in December after a welcome stretch of repeated rainstorms, but that now seems like ancient history.  In El Dorado, it hasn’t rained since Christmas Eve, so despite recording an impressive (for us) 14.2 inches of rainfall on the property from late September through Dec. 24, we once again find ourselves wondering about groundwater supplies for the coming vintage.  As we did last year, we we will delay posting availability of our largest water hog among the varietals, barbera, until we know we have the water to farm it (we are on a well).  We don’t know how it will play out–many potentially wet months are ahead–but we do know that if we don’t get good rainfal soon, we won’t be farming all of our barbera:  it’s clear we would run out of water.

We are pleased to post our availability and pricing at the end of January as per our custom.  Unfortunately, apart from a few tons of barbera, we can only offer waitlist options for our other main varietals, as we are completely sold out of the others out of the gates. We offer our repeat commercial clients first refusal on fruit, and we are excited to have a new client interested in making port-style wine from our Quinta fruit.  However, if you wanted primitivo or touriga, it is possible that some would become available–crop estimation is not an exact science–and we would encourage you to query us early to get on the top of our waitlists.

Nature has not played her hand yet in terms of bud burst timing, but after a couple of early seasons and in the face of a winter that seems to have come and gone already in December, we’d be betting on three in a row at this point.  We’d love to yet use the sledding course that we designed on the front slope of our property (outside vineyard) after an historic 9-inch snowfall several years ago, but there hasn’t been a repeat since, and we’re now not betting on it for this “winter”, either.