The vines are dormant; but mustard and other cover crops are allowed to bloom to prevent erosion, then are plowed under to add nutrients to the soil. Our crews are pruning and setting trellis systems. Swarms of starlings arrive to pick off the last of the vines’ berries. In the Winery, most fermentations are complete. Sauvignon Blanc is bottled
February Pruning and vine preparations are complete. The later the prune, the later the flowering, hopefully outmaneuvering a May frost. Sprinkler systems and wind machines are made ready for frosty spring mornings. Wines such as Chardonnay and Sémillon are bottled. Glass, labels and capsules must be ready for the bulk of the bottling that lies ahead.
The growing season is officially under way with budbreak, a stage when vine buds crack open and small shoots emerge. This is the beginning of the new crop. In the Winery, we now begin racking—siphoning off the clear wine from the sediment. Racking can occur three or four times during the winemaking process. Riesling is bottled.
Vines show thick clusters of new leaves. The vineyard crews remove tiny shoots so only vital vegetation is left. White wines are released. Blending for red varieties begins. Frost is a frequent threat. Wind machines, sprinklers—even helicopters—are used to protect the young crop. Zinfandel and Syrah are bottled.