The new year has been upon us for a good month now. And with it has come
colder than usual weather for the Russian River wine country. We’ve
experienced frost most mornings with dark and dreary skies over the month of
January. It’s not such a bad thing for us sunny California ‘weather wimps’,
or for most of our crops. We did cover our fragile fruit trees this year–the
lemons, oranges and even the new little pomegranate tree. They look stark and
a bit frightening in the dark, like ghosts, all wrapped up in white. While
the sun has made it back into the sixties and we’ve been able to enjoy warm
afternoons, the evening temperatures have continued to shoot back down into
the twenties to low thirties. Our plants haven’t known what to do, nor have
we. Do we take off the frost protection? Leave it on? All the plants
have received a heavy dose of ‘Cloud Cover’ as a back up but still, who wants
to cover at night, uncover each morning. But we know this added hassle will
definitely pay off when we pick a medley of fresh fruit in the months
Our Pinot Noir vines aren’t complaining. In fact, the cold is good for them
now. All pruning has been completed. The vineyards look clean and ready. Last
year we instituted a new pruning technique, called a kicker, with usually two
kickers on each vine, on a limited number of rows. And with the incredible
crop we experienced last fall, we found these vines were laden with more
bunches of fruit than the vines pruned the usual way. So this year we decided
to expand the ‘kicker’ technique through out the vineyards, using one kicker
per vine to make sure we did not overcrop the vines this year. Right
now the little kicker can be seen standing up on each vine throughout the
vineyards waiting to expand into more buds for possible set. With the
vagaries of weather the past few years it is a little hedge that has already
come in handy.
We also decided to add twelve and fourteen inch cross arms throughout the
vineyards to manage light and air flow. This was another new idea we tested
last year and were very happy with the results. Overall these two
changes should improve our crop in the coming years.
If you’ve never been to our ranch before please stop in and visit us when you
are out this way. We’d really enjoy meeting you and giving you a tour
of our vineyards. And of course, we always love to catch up with those of you
who have been here before. If you know Dan, you know he loves any excuse to
pop a cork and chat about Pinot Noir. He’ll talk about anything really--the
weather, wine, apples, vineyards, you name it, but it’s always better over a
glass of wine with friends, whether old or new. We’ll keep an eye out and a
glass ready for you. Until then,
We wish you good wine and good friends in 2013!!
Happy New Year!
- Dan and
love is like fine wine..."
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