Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring is definitely here!

The weather has been beautiful lately, the recent rains have given us enough water that we are not worried about the drought here anymore, and bud break is looking terrific - the overall mood is good!

But at home we are still so sad about the loss of my 'sister' and companion, Bonita - it's not the same to run in the vineyard without her. And I have nobody to give me a hard time, like she always did. I miss that so much!

At least I have Mom back now - she had to leave for Europe just three days after Boni passed away. I know that was very hard for her, as it is now for both of us at home. We hug a lot and feel very sad; but we have each other and are even closer than before.

While Mom was gone in March, Zach took this picture in the new Albariño block. I felt so sad and lonely running among the vines without Boni!

The Pinot Noir buds in the Swan clone, cane pruned, looked wonderful on April 3, very even
and fruitful, and pushing well

The new Albariño block is going to be grafted next week; we are all very excited. The rootstock started to push in mid March and with the rains, it has grown enough now to field graft already the Albariño budwood, from our own vines. We always prefer field grafting to dormant bench grafts and ideally we use our own budwood, which we know is healthy and virus free. It will take another three years to get the first good crop - as Mom says, to make wine from your own grapes you need to be very patient!

 Yesterday we saw good growth in the Chardonnay: two bunches per shoot in most vines 

And the Pinot Noir was even more fruitful, with three buds per shoot on average!

The growth throughout both of our vineyards is very healthy, with mostly two bunches per shoot in the Chardonnay, which is good, and three in the Pinot Noir, which is excellent. We keep our fingers crossed that this coming vintage may be similar to the fabulous 2013!

Here is a good example of a perfectly head pruned vine, the ideal way to train the Tempranillo.

I like this picture of me next to a nicely
grown Tempranillo vine!

The new planting of Tempranillo, which gave us a first small crop last year, is looking really good. The vineyard crew has learned very well to train the vines in the 'gobelet' system: the shoots have to look like the spikes of a wheel, or a cup ('gobelet' means cup in French).

This machine has replaced hand weeding, one of the most expensive parts of organic farming.

After the pass, the weeds are gone from under the vines, leaving the cover crop intact.

We are very pleased with the Gramegna weeding machine we have now been using for two years. That's how long it takes for the results to show, as it is a process; but it's wonderful to have eliminated the weeding by hand, which was extremely costly. Of course, in organic farming we never use any herbicides because we want to preserve the nutrients and richness of the soil, which herbicides will kill at the same time as the weeds. And believe me, the results for the health of the vineyard are undoubtedly there!