After frantic weeks of working with banks, credit card companies, shipping companies, cork suppliers and tons of other details we finally got back out in the vineyards this weekend. It was a beautiful weekend in Northern California, really perfect for working. Except for the weed whacker dieing on me, it went pretty well.
Home Vineyard and Ottigurr Vineyard – Both had bud break. These little suburban vineyards are great measuring sticks for how things are going in the mountains. Both are usually 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule of the mountain vineyards. It really helps with planing and scheduling our spread out vineyard sites to be able to track these two closely every day.
Mount Madonna – Reed’s Vineyard. I spoke with Reed last week, and things are going well. He’s mostly self sufficient now, and just calls on us for advice from time to time. He’s decided to not fruit the vineyard this year, and instead concentrate on shoot positioning and cordon strength. A gutsy move on his part, putting off a year three harvest and that first cash flow to concentrate on long term quality. We’ll have Tempranillo and Syrah from here in 2008 and Big Basin Vineyards will take the Grenache and probably any Tempranillo we don’t use.
Morgan Hill Vineyard. We finished pruning on Saturday. Not sure what this one will be named yet. It’s actually not in the town of Morgan Hill, but in the foothills above the town. It’s in a little valley behind the hill most people call “Morgan Hill” (Morgan Hill was a person, not an actual hill, but there’s a cone shaped hill outside of town that most people call ‘Morgan Hill’). This might fit into our long term plans. The vineyard is near Uvas Canyon, where I’d eventually like to plant our estate vineyard, and working it would give me some local experience with this micro-climate. No commercial fruit from here this year, it will be 2008 at least and probably 2009.
Llama Vineyard – Bonny Doon – Looks great. We did some clean up and weed removal. Stef hadn’t seen this vineyard in a long time. Millie and I pruned it this year, and Stef was amazed at the progress. This has been a painful vineyard to restore, but it’s in great shape now and should get us 1000-2000 pounds this year. This little location is only 6 miles from the ocean, but gets very hot during the day. It was 5 degrees warmer here on Saturday than in San Jose.
Elandrich Vineyard – Portola Valley – The weed whacker killer! It’s killed my weed whacker twice now. Millie got started on some serious end post repair work (jackhammer and 50lb bags of cement serious). I got through about 70% of the weed removal. The plants look pretty good here. We need to replace the bird netting with a better quality netting this year, and if we can do that should see 2 tons of fruit or so.
Everything looks in great shape. This experience in the vineyard is helping so much with winemaking and planing too. The work is hard, but I sure do appreciate all the great knowledge gained.