Tag Archives: rain

2017 Rainfall Record with almost 3 months to go?

With 2.5″ of rain on Friday we set a new rainfall record for Santa Rosa that was set in 1890, and,  we still have until June 30th for the season to end!  We have now had over 58″ of rain, and most of it since October 1, 2016.  What does that mean for our grapes?  It is good news for the soil as we want as much rain to fill the soil until the end of April so we won’t have to water until August.  The only issue with rain later than May 1 is that it might hurt fruit set and give us mildew on the vines.  Right now though, I’m happy for the vines…but personally sick of the rain!

PS  Historically we get 4″ of rain from April 1 – June 30…so can’t put away my umbrella just yet.

Rain in the Vineyard!!!


I believe in Global Warming, but I sure don’t believe in the the rainfall predictions from forecasters early in the season.  Last year was supposed to be a HUGE rainfall season with El Nino…but it ended up about normal.  This year is La Nina and they have predicted average rainfall…yet it looks to be very wet in Sonoma County. If you watch the national news we will have are having an “Atmospheric River” of rain…and we are having severe flooding in the area. We at Turtle Vines are not in a flood area but this was the worst winter storm since 2005 in Sonoma County. That one caused ~$100M of damage, hopefully this one is not as bad…let’s hope.

PS  From a vineyard standpoint, a cold winter is nice to delay bud break and a good soaking late March, early April is fantastic so we avoid watering until July or August for flavor development.  Just no rain May/June as that would be bad for powdery mildew and botrytis.

Average Rainfall        2016/2017 Season
October                      2.0″                              5.7″
November                  5.9″                             3.4″
December                  6.3″                             6.0″
January                       8.7″                             8.5″ as of 1/9/17
February                    7.6″
March                         6.2″
April                            2.3″



Rain now?

Rain on press

It rained today, September 18th here in Sebastopol.  Not a surprise in most parts of the country, but here it is big news during harvest as the moisture can ruin your crop.  We picked our Pinot last Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday so that is safe.  Our Sauvignon Blanc is still hanging for another month or so…so I blew them off and sprayed them today.

On Sunday we will pick the seconds from the Pinot and some rogue Merlot to either make a Rose or a low alcohol field blend.  Will have to see how it tastes.

As to the picture…we have the press on the left, 1100 pounds of fermenting Pinot in the middle (clone 667), and 95 gallons of pressed Pinot (clone Pommard) on the right.  I’m really looking forward to how the Pinot’s turn out this year as I let them naturally ferment before inoculating with yeast.  Should add complexity.

Thunder and Lightning!



Something exciting here at Turtle Vines.  On Sunday March 31st, a Thunder Storm arrived in Sebastopol.  Heavy rain, thunder and lightning!  This old tree just 100′ from the house was hit and 5′ pieces of the wood/bark came flying off. You can’t see it, but the wood that came off went all the way to the top of the tree.

Luckily for us and all the neighbors,  it didn’t catch on fire.  The good news is we probably got at least an inch of desperately needed rain.  More rain to come on Thursday.



P1080785Seems like forever ago that it last rained (OK 35 days, but for Sonoma County in winter that is forever)…..and we need it. Although it was a nice change from last year when we had over 50 inches of rain. By the way, if you have never been here, the last storm was representative of what we get….1” on Thursday, 3.5” Friday, perhaps another 3” on Sunda and then sun for 5 days.

So if you read the last post… I finished the weeding/mulching project just yesterday. In the next 9 weeks I have to prune the main vineyard, trim some trees in the back, install 2 fences, install the hardware for Joey’s front vines and prune those vines. I just need about 10 days in the next 50 to get this all done. Oh….and take control of the moles, gophers and those pesky racoons.

Winter comes fast

P1030966We just had our first real rain of the year……3” this weekend. This will mark the end of the harvest season in Sonoma County.

As you can see from the picture our little vines did well this year. Now they are turning colors and will lose all of their leaves in a few weeks.

Two big projects are left……1) Have to rototill the vineyard to get rid of the nasty flat weeds and replace them with a cover crop. We have to let the ground dry a few days and then start. 2) We have to install a drain to collect all of the water from the driveways so we don’t get erosion.

Never time off in the vineyard!!!