Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The weather has not been very good this spring and we are about two weeks behind schedule in the growing season. The soil is very wet from all the recent rains and it's almost impossible to go in with the tractor!  But our vineyard team is very busy with the usual tasks of this time of year: weeding, mowing, suckering, etc. This new machine allows us to weed with a tractor instead of weed-whacking, which also minimizes fuel emmissions. The soil is "sliced" under the rows, so weeds are erradicated rather than cut up by hand. The Earthquake Block looks beautiful! You can imagine here the deep ravine we covered with earth, which after a storm in 1995 opened up and originated the name of the block!

This tender shoot and cluster of Albariño looks nothing like Chardonnay - but it's very pretty!

We've had some frost again this year, shown here in these tender shoots that look like burned. A secondary bud will likely come out, but it will be much less fruitful than the primary bud.

bees - action shot
Setting up the bee hives was a fascinating project! Here Steve is shaking the cages where the bees came into the hive, while Mom sprays sugary water to entertain them

placing the bees
There were 10,000 bees in each cage!

This weekend we had a very fun project -- we set up our two bee hives! Steve, the "Bee King of Sonoma County", helped and directed us throughout. Of course we were not allowed to be around the bees, as Mom and Steve were worried that the bees might sting us. But we watched attentively from behind the fence as they set up the white-painted hives, took the bees out of their cages and shook them into the hives, then took eachqueen inside her cage and tied her to the board so the bees could get used to her. Then the next day we got the queens out and set each among their 10,000 subjects... they seemed to be getting along very well!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring is here and the buds are pushing in the Doña Margarita Vineyard!  The vines looks fantastic, as you can see.  The pictures tell more than a thousand words -- it is such a beautiful time in the vineyard!

The cover crop is about to be mowed, you can see how high it is -- perfect habitat for good predator insects!

 We also walked the winery's Don Miguel Vineyard, in Russian River/Green Valley. Soon we will mow the cover crop, after it's gone to seed so next year most of it is self-seeded.

The cover crop is about to be mowed, you can see how high it is -- perfect habitat for good predator insects!

Unfortunately it was only me, Bonita, who went both days with Mom -- Chico had to stay because he just had leg surgery for a torn ligament.   He looked so longing when we left him at Mom's office on his leash...  :-(   He has 10 more days of rest to go, and won't be able to run for another 2 months. What a bummer!  But we give him lots of TLC so he is not too unhappy -- and many licks!!

Zach and the team walking down a mowed row. Below are our stables, and our beloved horses!

At the Don Miguel Vineyard, I listened attentively to Zach as he explained to me how important cover crop is, while Ventura looked on approvingly