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.
Among other things, it takes a good winemaker to make a good Pinot Noir. Megan McGrath Gates has been the winemaker for Lucas & Lewellen Estate Vineyards since 2007. Her winemaking career was launched as an enologist for Flowers Vineyard & Winery on the Sonoma Coast, crafting Burgundian-style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while she earned a Certificate in Winemaking from UC Davis.
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.
Louis Lucas is one of the folks who pioneered grape growing in Santa Barbara County, beginning with his partnership in the historic Tepusquet Vineyard. Back in those early days, planting a vineyard was seen as a risky business. There weren't very many wineries in the county and it wasn't yet clear if the bigger North Coast wineries would be willing to purchase grapes from such a supposedly warm area in Southern California.