At long last, we had enough winter rainfall to fill the soil profile to field capacity. Then, as if that wasn’t good enough, we got extra rain in early May which really got the vines into high gear growth. The plants haven’t looked this happy for quite some time. Though I do recall even more growth 15-20 years ago where we had to cut back the new growth by hand just to be able to get equipment through certain rows without catching shoots and pulling some of them off the vines. It would be nice to be able to bank some of that ‘extra’ rainfall for the seasons when nature turned the tap mostly off. The reality is that California historically experiences feast and famine in rainfall despite our desires for ‘average’ temperatures and precipitation every year. So, with this herky-jerky ride in mind (somewhat of a rodeo ride vs. a draft horse pulled wagon) we endeavor to keep one hand on the hack rein and the other high in the air with the vagaries of each season, just like our ancestors did. The wine industry has been cyclical at roughly an 11-year period for a couple generations anyway, so we are all prepared for upheaval on a certain periodicity. When you juxtapose the pandemic and political overlay of nearly the past decade, it becomes a more complex model. Even just factoring in the supply chain issues of the past 3 years, it makes a huge impact on one’s ability to function in a similar manner as the past. We are becoming accustomed to this one-handed method of riding, for better or worse. Just gotta hang on.
Read the complete newsletter here: The Rodeo
Photo: My Dad on one of the “newer” tractors during Harvest a few years back.