It is already February and all of the Italian variety vines have been pruned except Nebbiolo. We prune the Nebbiolo last because it breaks bud and comes out early and is very susceptible to frost. Late pruning delays the bud push.
Amen to harvest. In mid-December, the cycle starts all over again with pruning of the vines which lasts until the middle of March. I have had a chance to observe and taste some of the new wines and it looks like 2019 will be an exceptional year.
After beautiful December rains, we had a winter drought in January and February, but our forecast for the middle of March looks good. We should be finished pruning by then - one of the more important jobs that we do.
This will be the 50th year since I planted my first vine in Santa Barbara County. Growing grapes hasn’t changed too much since then but each year’s experience has added to a better understanding of the needs of each region. Weather, soil, and care still dictates what kind of grapes we grow, and ultimately what kind of wine we make.
This has been a cold, wet spring but we avoided frost on the new growth. Now we are hoping for some heat and no more rain. The grapes are trying to bloom and they are dragging behind, which could make for problems later.
Sixty days until harvest. It seems like yesterday that we were pruning and being thankful for the terrific rains that we had. The vines this year are a little larger than normal thanks to the wet winter.