Thursday, June 10, 2010

Winter, then summer, and only a hint of spring.

Man oh man, how can 3 weeks go by so fast? Last blog everything was in bloom, then we got a late rain, then we got summer. Now the days are cooling with fog coming in at nite. In the vineyard, weeds and gophers continue to bedevil us. We have mowed, weedeaten, and macheted now 5 times, albeit that this time there was a lot less to do. Not using pre-emergent in a big rain year, going green or not, was a huge error. Additionally we currently are in bloom, the two sets of movable catch wires have been raised around each vine, and the canes are easily 3, sometimes 4 feet in length. It is incredible how fast this vineyard took off. Just got our 2nd mildew spray in prior to bloom, so that when fog comes in at nite, any mildew that wants to form is inhibited from doing so. Each spray is good for 21 days or thereabouts, and is unnecessary once verasion is done.

We just cleared the trail that parallels the cold valley Pinot below and the mountain Cab above. It is a straight up and down side hill that has one trail cut thru it, and is traversible on our 6 wheel drive ATVs. Between poison oak, huge bull thistles, and 4, yes four downed trees, it was quite a task. Once done, however, it gives guests here for vineyard tours a chance to go thru an enchanted forest, 20 degrees cooler than anything else around, and that is all year long. It is completely forested, with the tree canopy not allowing any light to pass thru. The entire mountainside is covered in magnificent ferns which is quite different from the rich dark soil of the valley below in full sun, and the mountain above, in full sun and set in solid limestone. The main reason for reopening this trail is so that visitors can go along the trail and see the 5 nests of redtail hawks, the two nests of grey squirrels, and the 3 nests of horned owls in the white oak canopy, high above.
From here on out, we have some more positions to set for the now 2 y/o grafts of Sauv Blanc. Additionally, with the 60 knot winds we got some two weeks ago, we have had to cut the gangly, and unsupported canes that extend high above the catch wires. Failure to do so makes the entire graft cane whip about and break off when the winds go over 20-30 mph...and that has happened thrice in the last 2 weeks.

We, like others, have seen the traffic in these parts fall off substantially from last year, when it was slow. The economy is hurting most folks, and many of those drink fine wines. Ask anyone at the local wine shop, and they will say this is a buyer's market. Problem is there just aren't anywhere near enough buyers of shoes, cars, homes, clothes, dinners out, movies, etc. Wine is not being picked on here, the entire country is. It is heartbreaking to have so many friends in construction...well, no longer so. Paso has at least 25 to 40% of its income related to construction and everything that emanates therefrom. Builders are getting walloped, and many have just frankly pulled up and quit. With business in general way off, everyone is affected, from school teacher layoffs to the local auto mechanics. Fine wines stay good for long periods of time, and if kept around will be even better in years down the road. You can't say that about many things, but you sure can about wine. Today's vineyard tour guests are 3 hours late as of this blog, so guess they aren't coming. C'est la vi. Good news is, the Cornish game hens were put in the oven with lemon, lemon pepper, salt and paprika, some 2 hours it is time to feast. I will leave you with that thought, and as always, say a prayer tonite that the belching black cloud at the bottom of the Gulf, just off New Orleans, will somehow, miraculously be capped tomorrow. We've been hearing that for 52 days now, so probably, that is a forlorn hope. We need a miracle down there. I sure hope it is forthcoming...soon.

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