Sunday, March 8, 2009

Springtime in the Vineyards

Yesterday Karl and I spent the day among the vines. We paid special attention to the water-retention of the soil...and did an inspection of vines after their winter pruning.

The vines must be pruned during their dormancy (in the winter months). If the vines are not trimmed back to the main cordons (arm-like branches), then the vine will continue to grow larger until it looks like a bush.

Our vineyard managers prune the vines to maintain only the necessary amount of vegetation on the vine during the growing season. Less vegetation means that more energy/sugar is transferred to the grape clusters. Plus, it makes the vines easier to monitor and harvest.

Spring showers have also brought us seas of mustard plants. Their bright yellow flowers make the vineyards a major attraction for naturalists and photographers during the vines' dormant season. But one benefit that the mustard brings to the vineyards is the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. Nitrogen is a vital component in healthy soil...and mustard is a great cover crop to provide the soil this "nutrient boost".

Vineyard management is a tricky business - every vineyard has different needs.

We strive to direct each vine's resources into the grape clusters, while simultaneously stressing the vine enough to minimize vigor and overcropping.

Small berries in small clusters always bring greater complexity and depth to a red wine. As winemakers, we work tirelessly with our vineyard managers to find an equilibrium for each vine that produces the finest quality grapes. Our foremost goal is to maintain the integrity and health of the vine and its entire ecosystem.

Sustainability - a buzz word in many respects - is something we take very seriously.

- Jeff Mathy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What more can be said other than the vineyards this time of the year are just beautiful. Great photos and text.Thanks for the tour!