As everyone knows farmers worry a lot about the weather…so here goes mine. California is in its 4th year of drought. Last year we finished with a little over half the normal rainfall and this rainy season is almost over and we are in the same shape as last year…unless we get a lot of rain in March and April.
What does that mean for us here in Russian River Valley? Well, last year bud break was March 11th with an early harvest of September 2nd. We had bud break February 25th this year, 2 weeks ahead of last year!
Why this is bad:
– The sooner bud break, the more chance of a heavy frost damages the shoots and ruins the crop. Normally we worry until 4/15.
– If all the other milestones are early, we will harvest mid-August. With an early harvest the grapes will not mature correctly leading to poorer phenolics.
– The chance of rain ruining fruit set is greater.
But what can you do but enjoy the nice weather and hope for a cool summer.
From bud break until April 15th we all hold our collective breath here in Russian River Valley hoping that we won’t have a hard freeze that will damage our small shoots. That would be very sad. With not much rain since December 2012, the warm 2013 spring like weather and my decision to prune early, our first bud break was 3 weeks earlier than last year. This time next week most of my vines will have small shoots that hold our crop for the fall. If I get a hard freeze, it will be a very small crop…hope for warm nights!
Pictured above was this mornings fog covering Turtle Vines. So romantic and a welcome sight. If you don’t know, if the sky is clear then it will be cold…but if we have fog it does not normally drop below 40 degrees.
Last night we went to San Francisco to see our Nephew’s showing of portraits at the Lexington Bar. He had a great turn-out and we were very happy to see Cody and Andrea. In addition, Joey took the picture below of the Golden Gate Bridge as the fog was rolling in the bay. If you have never been there to see it, quite amazing!
For those few of you following the Turtle Vines blog….Happy Holidays!!!
Well, the work on the vineyard this year is almost coming to an end. Just another 40 hours of weed cloth/mulching and then we are set for the year. With the holidays this might actually stretch into January.
Nothing like the rest of the country, but it has been cold here at nights. However, we are having an extremely dry December so the days have been sunny! Makes being outside in the afternoons a real treat.
This next year should be very exciting……our first harvest of around 1000 pounds of grapes, enough for about 25 cases. In addition, I’m doing my first real pruning on the vines, weekly spraying starting mid-march, leafing, tying, bird nets and the continual adventures with raccoons/gophers and moles…..and I’m sure other things I have not even thought of yet!
So, here is a toast to all of you and to our success this next year!!!