A quick look around,
The work is all done.
Oops, on second thought,
It has just begun.
Just about the time the vineyard starts looking to be in tip top shape for winter, the gophers go to town and Cazadora and Cartucho hunt virtually all day long; and until each day has hard frosts lasting til mid morning, the gophers are a burdensome problem. Actually poisoning with strychnine is easy, but we at Cerro Prieto are doing our darndest to go green(we are 90% of the way there), and poisons don't cut it. Hence, the time consuming digging out of gopher holes, finding the tunnels, and lastly settting MacAbee traps in each tunnel arm...is the theme for every day until we trap those miserable grapevine-root-eating curs. Unfortunately, gophers breed like rabbits, and if you kill one, two take its place. During the dead of winter, December 15-February 15, gophers go mostly deep underground and altho not dormant, they cease being pests. Come mid February, however, they are right back at it.
Of course, by that time, it is almost time to start pruning again, so in essence, there really is very little down time. And that is just the vineyard side of things...the winemaking still needs to be done. The work would indeed be tedious were it not for the splendor of the leaves changing color, and the beautiful back lit scenes from the low winter sun.
Watching the muted vineyard color changes can be mesmerizing, and it is truly a photographer's delight. Once the vines go bare, the starkness of the naked vines is sad...almost heartbreaking. But we know that by mid February, most of the severe frosts are over in the mountain vineyard, and we anxiously await the first signs of bud break. Although not impressive at first,once 18,000 vines and
360,000 tiny green buds appear, the vineyard takes on another entirely different look, and the new growing year is upon us. In the meantime it is Thanksgiving, a time to give thanks and get together with family and friends...to eat, sit by the fire, and slowly sip and enjoy the product of our labors: Cerro Prieto's International Gold Medal 2006 Merlot Reserve, and our 92 point Wine Enthusiast signature blend, Paso Bordo.
Drinking wine on a frigid winter day around the fireplace is one thing. Drinking your own wine, from a vineyard you planted and pruned by hand...in which you worked, sweated, fumed, cussed, and finally overcame oabstacles, and yes, then finally made into wine...well, at times like these, it IS worth it.