The epic rains of late December 2022 and early January 2023 provided a surprising and entirely welcome change from recent years of intense drought. We filled all of our reservoirs to their maximum capacity which is always a relief when that can happen.
Most of the vineyard work waited until the ground dried up a bit to prevent getting stuck or making a mess. Unfortunately, our marketing team didn’t think about this, resulting in a Bronco needing to be rescued via tractor. Both it and the vineyard survived, but the story (and photo) will live on.
Pruning is well underway as we “set the stage” for this year’s crop. In Napa Valley, we start in Carneros and move north where the risk of frost, and subsequent damage to newly pruned vines, is higher. Frost has hit the Foothills the past few years, so we are taking the time during pruning to address any issues from the previous year.
Winter is the time for needed, general vineyard work, including everything from mending broken trellises to clearing downed trees. It is also the time of year we modify any farming plans for the upcoming season so there is lots of needed work happening, if less directly with the vines themselves.
Finally, and the cutest update of all, are our woolly weeders. We have sheep grazing Patriots Vineyard, our largest vineyard, where they help with weed control and fertilization. We had several give birth this year so there are a dozen lambs running through the rows and following their moms.
We’re feeling excited about this growing season!
- Patrick Tokar, Viticulturist