With the sporadic rainfall (the warm "Pineapple Express" that came in from the Pacific and dumped inches at a time on us) coupled with the unusually warm winter and spring, the vines budded out about three weeks earlier than usual this year. Below (left) is a cluster that has yet to bloom in a shadier block of the vineyard, and below (right) is an example of an area that's already started to bloom.
In April, we had days of unexpected heat up into the '80s, followed by weeks of cool, foggy mornings that hardly cleared by mid-afternoon. The bushy growth on the vines came on fast and furious during the last week of April. We sent the crew in to thin the Cabernet Sauvignon by removing canes and suckers that were not in ideal growing position or didn’t have fruiting bunches present. There seems to still be enough moisture in the soil to keep the cover crop growing, so we'll soon send in the crew once again to manually walk each row to weed-eat the knee-high weeds and clover. It really has been an ideal growing season, albeit very early!
The vines are big and healthy, and soon we'll be going in to sample the petioles (aka the stalk attaching the leaf blade to the stem), to see what soil amendments or micro-nutrients we may be lacking. It looks to be a prosperous crop, but we are still a long way out. Predicting a growing year is comparable to looking at a kindergartener and saying he's so smart and tall, and can already read...but then checking back when he graduates from high-school!
The vineyards aren't the only thing in bloom! The Lamb garden is overflowing with goodies. This year we've bird-proofed the berries with netting to ensure they're all ours (and yours, if you come visit)! And we've got snow peas and snap peas coming out of our ears, too.
Stay tuned for an early summer update soon! It really amazes us how quickly everything grows this time of year.