Friday, May 30, 2014

Bonita's First Report from the Vineyard

This time it's just me, Bonita (Jr.), reporting on the Tales -- Chico has been unable to run in the vineyard, as much as he loves that, because his knees are giving him trouble (arthritis, I hear, ugh!). You see, he's getting old -- just turned 9! I, on the other hand, am only 4, in the prime of life as they say. And I LOOOVE running around the vineyard! In my former life I was with a family that not only didn't have a vineyard, I spent most of the time in a backyard. It's like I died and went to heaven!

You can see that I listened attentively while Filiberto and Zach discussed the next steps after a great set in the Chardonnay blocks

Zach looked on approvingly (and I watched very carefully) as Filiberto showed how he's planning to pull leaves in the Chardonnay vines

In fact I've been on vineyard walks a few times, as it's six weeks now that I've been part of the Torres family! So I think I can do this blog by myself, until Chico is better and can run for a couple of hours again without hurting the entire next day, as it did happen. And I am starting to know Zach and Filiberto quite well; I listen attentively when they discuss the vineyard, of course, and I've learned a lot! 

With the good weather and bits of rain recently, the vines have had a growth spurt! Their tops have been hedged (trimmed) already, ahead of schedule 

The Albariño is growing beautifully, too! It is behind the Chardonnay, as is normal; but it's also been hedged, as Filiberto is showing here

The good weather has caused a growth spurt in the vines, so we've hedged them (or trimmed their tops) already, about two weeks ahead of normal; we do that because cutting off their tops will stop the upward growth and thus the energy of the vine will concentrate on the fruit, not the canopy -- which is what we want right now.

Our insectary this year is looking fabulous!

All in all (while keeping our fingers crossed), this year is looking good! It would be awesome if we had another great vintage, after the last two outstanding harvests.

The recent light rainfall have produced some coulure, which means that the rain hampered the set and therefore some flowers never became grapes. But it's really minimal; we just won't have as large a harvest as last year, yet still can be very good!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Vines are in Full Bloom!

The weather has been very nice in our region, and with the few hot days last week the growth spurt has accelerated. The vineyard crew is going through the rows non-stop tucking shoots and lifting wires! And the outlook is very good for this year - although as we hear Zach say a lot, "these are eggs, not chickens yet". We think he means that the eggs are like the potential of flowering vs. the reality of fruit set... Well, we'll see!

This is a very special time in the vineyards. The soft and fragrant smell of the vine flowers permeates the air and it is truly a pleasure to breathe it in while walking among the vines. Pretty soon the flowers will disappear and the caps will fall, giving way to the tiny berries. That's when we will do cluster counts and start to estimate the yields for every parcel.

Bloom is practically completed in the Don Miguel Vineyard and the clusters are very healthy, as
shown in this Pinot Noir vine of the Swan clone

The Tempranillo is a bit behind, but
perfectly head trained

The new planting of Albariño is very exciting, and so much fun to run up and down on it because the vines are so tiny. We just field grafted the budwood from our own vines onto the American rootstock, which will make the vines resistant to the dreaded phylloxera; and very soon after, the new buds are beginning to sprout. Nature is so beautiful!

The Albariño vines planted in 2008 are
looking terrific, but the shoots are growing fast

After field grafting he Albariño budwood in the
new planting, the teensy buds are just coming out!