It’s a lovely time in the vineyard, so much is happening (hence, irregular blog entries…sorry!). Mostly we’re in a holding pattern with 99% fruit set (the turning of flowers-to-fruit) completed. This is a delicate time for us, as June has been one heck of a windy month, we had a small rain shower last week, and we have to be careful not to manhandle the vines too much as the flowers hang in this delicate balance before the fruit emerges. All of the above can create “shatter”, or in layman’s terms, a loss of fruit. Instead of hanging around doing nothing, we’re observing the vines daily and providing aid in the form of gentle homeopathic Biodynamic floral sprays. It’s pretty miraculous to see actual beneficial changes from 3 applications of a horn manure (BD 500)/barrel compost (BC) spray in the proportions of 2 ozs/acre.

As much concern is given to watching for the dreaded Powdery Mildew, a simple way to handle this disastrous potential problem is to spray sulfur (or similar sprays) on a regular 7 to 10 day schedule. We prefer NOT to do this, instead we will treat individual plants as necessary. Part of our strategy is walking through the vineyards, vine-by-vine, every other day inspecting plants-constantly checking and constantly following up. We’re hoping to to come up with patterns, reasons – dare I say – solutions. This year we weeded StoneCross vineyard, a week to 10 days later we found a super mild outbreak of Powdery Mildew in the Grenache Blanc (which is in StoneCross). Because of this, we decided not to weed Mark’s Vineyard. Also, some of the wild flowers we planted in Mark’s Vineyard have taken beautifully – and we hate to pull them out (our hypothesis: weeds and wild flowers will actually attract the powdery mildew to themselves, instead of our vines). Fingers crossed…
The 2009’s in the winery are mostly taking longer than usual to finish malolactic fermentation, which is delaying the blending of the reds. Talking to other winemakers who lean more on the natural side of wine making, this appears to be an overall 2009 phenomena, certainly not problematical, but it weighs on the mind–just another thing in our heads that we’ve got to take care of. However, next week we’ll be bottling the remaining 2008 Rhone blends (yes! more of them besides the 3 already released).

The Paella 101 class was a great success! We made 3 different paellas: a traditional Espanola paella with chorizos and salchichons, a seafood paella, and an estate paella (foods & meat from AmByth). We set up 3 cooking stations and everyone got to lend a hand and mix whilst enjoying wine and good conversations. For more great pictures, check them out here