Sunday, February 26, 2012

First Buds, First Gophers

Budbreak at Blue-Merle Vineyard.
Like the first kernel of popcorn that pops, the first bud on the 6th leaf Tempranillo vines has unfolded. Bud break has started in the vineyard, soon to be awash in a sea of light green. As with opening day of baseball,  there is so much hope and promise and anyone can win. This is the year of a great vintage, and why not?

Joe The Wino says "a gopher in February is worth 50 in June" and the gnarly varmints have been stirred by the heat wave the past week when it hit over 70 degrees in the vineyard, causing those buds to swell to great pregnancy.  The Queen caught her first gopher of the season this morning (the carcass discovered by Bluey who goes into Pointer Mode when there's a gopher trapped in the hole -- I shall spare our sensitive readers a photo), after pruning most of the vineyard herself while I was in France trying as many varieties of wine as I could (limited by the fact I was there on daytime job business, not a winetasting tour). The French wine industry is alive and well and producing some great, enjoyable wines, even for my pallet, this said after making my first trip to France since becoming a winemaker. I've inspected every vine, fine tuning the cuts, to make sure we do not overcrop -- the Queen tends to leave a few too many spurs, a few too many buds. Thoughtful pruning now can help down the road with canopy management (avoiding that jungle), mildew control and better grapes, just like weeding out a few gophers early in the season makes them easier to manage down the road.  If good wine is made in the vineyard, this is where it starts. 

1 comment:

Rudy said...

Out here in Hungary, we,re somewhat behind on you guys. The last three weeks brought us an unusual amount of snow, about 80 cm accumulating on the roof, freezing hard as a rock overnight, causing the roads to vanish in a sea of white. Stopping all traffic due to the lack of signal poles on the road sides, leaving like a fourth of the village cars in a ditch up and down the valley.

I got home for a 4 day leave on Saturday night from my winter season job in Austria, Schladming, to find only a few inches of snow to be left... What a bright day of sunshine can do !

Then on Sunday and today a freezing Northern wind made me take a blunt decision, having to go back to Austria for one more month tomorrow night. I'll be gone until the end of March for sure.

To prune or not to prune ?
My Queen is not into this madness, She doesn't has green fingers either. so it's up to me, only me.
My Hungarian "Soul mates" don't agree fully with my vision also, so I cannot rely on them to do the pruning for me.

What the Hell, I've gone through my Merlot and Zweigelt like a mad man to get it over with and hope for the best.

Have a great spring,