Thursday, December 7, 2017

LA region fires affect vineyards

First it was the northern wine country; now the Skirball fires are ripping through the outskirts of Los Angeles. Almost 200 homes have been destroyed by the fires which remain out of control. About 200,000 people have been told to evacuate. Loss of power is reported at more than 250,000 homes in Ventura County. The San Diego Freeway was closed. Fueled by hot Santa Ana winds, it is unusual that a wildfire like this has ripped through in December. A state of emergency has been declared yet again.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Fall has finally arrived in the vineyard

Fall arrived, if only for one day. Today it's back to warm and wet but yesterday it was cool, crisp, and sunny with frost overnight. The red vines have dropped their leaves but the white vines and hanging on. The grass and weeds have control. Next have to get out there with a shovel and dig out the docks. Then Alex will have to strim. Finally we will go in and select out the main shoots and prune away the rest. Then Alex can build the overhead trellis system we'll be adopting from Spain. Trying to be patient.
Red vines have dropped most of their leaves
White vines hanging on to leaves

Friday, October 13, 2017

Some ways you can help the California fire victims

Google Crisis Map 
California’s Wine Country is in a state of emergency as more than a dozen wildfires burn through large swaths of land in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Lake, and Yuba counties. The fires have destroyed at least 3,500 homes, caused at least 30 fatalities, and forced an estimated 25,000+ residents to evacuate, with that number expected to rise. 8000 firefighters are involved in the fight, some from as far away as Australia.

Our first harvest

A few more red grapes.

This is for the white crop.

Well, we aren't going to be making wine just yet, nor is there enough for a jar of jam. But tasting these delicious tiny morsels that explode with flavour has been fun. We decided to pick today because we are expecting Hurricane Ophelia to hit on Monday. It might even cause a stock market crash according to an article in Forbes. Another article in Forbes today describes how rare it is for hurricanes to come up our way. We figured it was time to get ready, especially since another system would be affecting us in the days leading up to Ophelia.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Wine country fires

My heart goes out to all the Californians whose lives are completely disrupted by the horrendous fires raging through Napa and Sonoma. Dry conditions and strong winds caused such rapid escalation and devastation. More than 50,000 acres engulfed in Napa. Many injuries, at least ten known dead and the toll is likely to rise.

They said the grape harvest has already been completed for most, but the impact on the wineries and vineyards is inestimable at this time. Growing grapes and making wine is a labor of love. Many livelihoods and lives will have been destroyed by this tragic development.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

From grapes to raisins

Picking some red grapes
The red grapes we had this year were small but very tasty. There were no white grapes on the three year old vines at all. The new vines are all alive and doing reasonably well. The vineyard itself is terribly overgrown, but I plan to go up and dig out the biggest of the weeds and clear around the plants. Then I plan to select out the best main shoots, which have already become woody. I have to wait to prune until the plants go dormant. Next year will be the real test I believe. Meanwhile, the tiny grapes are shriveling into raisins.