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Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Spring is Springing in the Vineyard, but General Winter is Still Camping Out in the Winery

Another day of pruning in the vineyard.

We should be able to finish just in time before bud-burst. It's very important to finish pruning before the sap starts flowing in the vine; if you prune after the sap starts flowing then you are removing nutrients that the vine needs to sprout new leaves. It takes a few weeks for these new leave to mature and start to photosynthesize sunlight to make their own energy. Until that happens, the vine relies on the sap that it stored in its roots and trunk during its dormant period in Winter.

Octavio (3 1/2) helps his Dad (me) with the pruning

Lavinia (5) also helps her Dad

This is a baby thistle, which will turn into a 2 m (6 foot) monster by this Summer!

 We like to create bio-diversity in the vineyard. Instead of ploughing up the rows between the vines and leaving the soil naked and exposed, like our conventional neighbours do, we let all the grasses and plants and flowers in the vineyard grow and we only cut them back when they get too tall or too near the vines. On the one hand (1) this is a good pest-control system, because all the little beasties eat each other up and no one species ever becomes a problem. if you plough up the land, you destroy the habitat of all the beasties except for the one that lives on the vines, and the only way to deal with it now is with chemicals because you've destroyed the habitat of its predators.
Secondly (2) we believe that by leaving all these plants, grasses, thistles, flowers along with their populations of insects, pollens, native yeasts, etc, we obtain richer and more complex tastes and aromas in the must and in the wine.
Thirdly (3) by leaving all the plants and flowers, we protect the soil from erosion due to wind and rain.

And here are the buds on the almond tree - still haven't opened

In the bodega things are a few degrees cooler!

Disk of ice

Corks drying out, in the sun

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