Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The vines are growing very quickly with this beautiful weather!

The shoots are growing by leaps and bounds -- in fact we wish it was not so warm, since the quick growth will give us long internodes and thus more distant positions. But as farmers, we don't get to choose -- Mother Nature does!

Bloom is probably 2 or 3 weeks away -- hopefully just before Mom goes to Europe! She is leaving on May 19 -- and we know how sad she is to have to miss so much of the vineyard development at this time, when the vines change almost daily.
Some clusters at the 'pompom' phase -- you can see why they get this name!
Our 'Insectary' is starting to bloom -- in a few days it should be covered with lots of beautiful flowers!

Other than the vineyards, a few more things are going on -- like the new pizza oven we are building! It should be finished by next week, and then we will celebrate with a Team Party on May 9. Pizzas and BBQ!We are so looking forward to it, mostly because some treats are sure to come our way (and if not, Chico is great at stealing food, anyway).

Another exciting news item is that we already have a new bee hive. One of them did thrive this past season, but the second collapsed due to the insecticides that contain neonicotinoids. :-(  So Mom and our friends Millie & Tom, who live across the road, helped Steve (The Bee Master of Sonoma County, remember him??) and Dan get the new hive in. We will be harvesting a ton of honey from the 1st one soon -- we can't wait! 

The pizza oven is almost finished, then the BBQ willbe back next to it

The first bee hive is doing great, and the second one has just gone in!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Buds are Breaking - it must be Spring!

We love this weather, it's great for running in the vineyard -- and the new buds are sooo cute!

Finally, bud break arrived! Not that it's late, mind you -- this year everything is right on time. Bud break came in mid March, and fortunately we had finished pruning as scheduled, by late February. Then we had some heavy rains, as much as 3.5 inches, but they only lasted a week in early April. Ever since, the weather has been quite beautiful -- now we only want it to last until flowering, which should happen in early May.

The timely rains have added up to slightly more than last year's total rainfall to date, which is still below average for our region -- but not bad. 

We are intent on not letting gophers invade our vineyards this year; using traps, we have caught about 200 at the Doña Margarita Vineyard and more than 100 at the Don Miguel. Yaay!  Our only regret is, WE  haven't been able to catch a SINGLE one. But we keep trying!

A young bud of Tempranillo, looking very healthy!
The Chardonnay shoots are fruitful, with two clusters. Many have wings, promising good sized bunches