Friday, May 8, 2009

Hammer Down

That's right, hammer down, and get ready for the rocket ride, because that is what is going on down below me as I write. The mountain Rhone/ Bordeaux vineyard is cooking with growth. This is by far my favorite time of yr, when individual shoots put on 4" to 6-7" per week. I have actually measured some daily growth and was completely astounded at how fast this goes. At long last we have stopped bouncing off our valley vineyard lows in the low 30's and have bottomed in the mid 40's. Match that with days like the last 3 days of 95 degrees, and you have the "hammer down" rocket ride that occurs once the low lows disappear. Literally, it seems that a marked shoot can grow in the time it takes to walk to the end of the row and back.

The Cerro Prieto Vineyard cold valley has come alive, putting growth on the Pinot Noir, but nowhere near what our mountain vineyard has done. (The two vineyards are contiguous, however). One thing we sweat is the next 3 weeks in which we need to get thru bloom. If that happens with no gale force winds, no torrential rain and no severe frost, we are in good shape. After the growth explosion going on now, the worst part of the yr is waiting to get thru bloom. Funny how the two follow on the heels of one another, but after elation comes "the wait". Usually there are other things to keep one's mind occupied, eg, the Paso Robles Wine Festival, at which we pour our Cerro Prieto Vineyard & Cellars '06 wines(Gold medal Merlot, San Diego Intl Wine Competion/ and our signature wine, Paso Bordo, a Cab/Syrah blend).

That alone eats up a couple weeks in preparation, so it is a welcome diversion at just the right time. Then raise wires, thin, raise more wires, check petioles, and before long, green grapes are going thru verasion. Next thing you know harvest is upon us and the yr slips away. One of the hardest things to do if living at/on the vineyard is to enjoy what is here, and focus on the big picture, not just the day to day vineyard chores. It is so unbelievably beautiful here that sometimes I forget how fortunate we are to observe nature in her element, and live amongst the vines. That's a good thot to close on. Cheers!

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