Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The bees are back -- and the vines are growing quickly!

Everyone is so excited -- we got our bee hives back!  We lost both hives a few months ago to this shocking disease, CCD or Colony Collapse Disorder. Have you heard about it? It seems that the Neonicotinoid pesticides are doing away with a large amount of the bee population. And even though our vineyard is organic, since the bees travel up to 3 km they can bring it back from nearby conventional vineyards.  It's a horrible situation!

Meanwhile, with the recent warm weather following the rains, the vines are growing by leaps and bounds.       And the vineyards look beautiful!  Very uniform and manicured, thanks to the great work of our vineyard team. If things go well from here to harvest, we could have an excellent crop.  Hah!  Wish we had a crystal ball ...

The cover crops are in full bloom and looking gorgeous. We have different crops planted throughout the vineyards, selected to best suit each parcel. Pretty soon we will mow them or till them into the soil, depending on the needs of each block. But for now, we love to run amid the beautiful flowers!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bud break is finally here!

The rains finally came, and in no small buckets! It has been raining almost non-stop since mid March -- just after Mom left for Europe. She was gone for three weeks, then came back for a week and was off again, this time for a week's vacation helicopter-skiing in Canada with Cristina (what a tough life she lives!) and just returned last Sunday. We enjoyed seeing our sis for a few short days, but now she is back to work in Paris.  We did want to go heli-skiing with them, for we love the snow, but no way they would take us...

Chardonnay DMV
The first leaves of Chardonnay are unfolding in the Don Miguel Vineyard

DMV Vineyard
And in the Sonoma Coast's Doña Margarita Vineyard, the buds are just starting to open

Dogs at DMV
We ran and ran in the Doña Margarita Vineyard -- Mom had a hard time keeping us still for a pic!

Today we went to the Doña Margarita Vineyard; it rained really hard last night so everything was very wet -- which we love, of course! Running in that vineyard is a dog's dream... especially since the sun was shining and it was a beautiful morning. And then, guess what, it hailed in the afternoon. This weather is so insane!  We've had almost 50 inches of rain this season, but 2/3 of that in the last four weeks. OK, now the rain can stop!

In the vineyards it's a beautiful time, when the vines come to life after the long winter rest. The tiny leaves are so cute, all even and bright green! But it is also the time when they are most susceptible to deer, one of our natural enemies here. Last year someone left the vineyard gate open up at the Doña Margarita Vineyard and 4 deer came in -- in a couple of days they devoured more than an acre, which meant a loss of over $20,000 for us!