God smiled on us and Paso Robles on Zinfandel Festival Weekend and the AmByth Spring Hike and lunch.

A perfect day greet our dozen walkers for what should be our first annual WineClub Member’s Hike and Luncheon celebrating the first day of Spring. We started off touring through PlayGround to the west fence line to view our latest attempt (and thus far, successful) of altering our portable chicken coop to keep the chickens free-range, whilst keeping them from being a “fox luncheon”. It was perfect timing, Deborah Sowerby (of Olive Ewe Ranch and grower of the best lamb in the country, contact here for whole or half lambs) was delivering 8 hens to join our remaining hen and rooster. Next to the coop and along the fence line we looked at the 50 new apple and pear trees recently planted and already pushing buds for this year’s new growth. As I type this, blossom is appearing on some of these new trees, it is going to be quite a sight in future years.

The hike led over to the top of Terrace, our steep Mourvedre vineyard. From here there is a grand view of Mark’s Vineyard and StoneCross, a viewpoint that most visitors to AmByth don’t get a chance to see, it gives a great perspective to the steepness of our vineyards (and the labor involved when operating such a hands-on farm). Phillip led the group through StoneCross, down into Mark’s Vineyard and down to the compost pile and corral.

Phillip was happy to talk about all aspects of the farm: the pushing buds, our philosophy and plans for weed allowance/control, our method of pruning, etc.–and most importantly, the Manure Pile! Probably not the height of what someone would think about when seeing Paso in all its glory with vineyards bursting forth, but our manure pile is the vital force behind the health of our farm. Mary gave a brief description of the hive, the components of the hive and the hows-and-whys of bee-keeping. A taste of the current releases in the winery and lunch followed–it was a great time of nourishment and friendship, and a great way to begin our Spring in the vineyard.