What’s Happening in the Vineyard…unseasonable winter & the vines

The iconic images of full, lush green vines weighted with beautiful clusters of grapes during the summer and rich burgundy, gold and auburn leaves during the Fall, illustrate the vibrant life cycle of a vineyard. Not to be forgotten, the bare, cold winter season represents an important part of that cycle as well. From a winemaking perspective, each step in the process plays a vital role to the development of grapes. Currently, our vineyards are going through their crucial dormant stage. Dormancy is an important period in any organism’s life cycle. This stage occurs after the vines have experienced adverse conditions. For Lodi, that means freezing temperatures that typically occur in January, and ... Read More...

The iconic images of full, lush green vines weighted with beautiful clusters of grapes during the summer and rich burgundy, gold and auburn leaves during the Fall, illustrate the vibrant life cycle of a vineyard. Not to be forgotten, the bare, cold winter season represents an important part of that cycle as well. From a winemaking perspective, each step in the process plays a vital role to the development of grapes.kyle in vineyard by randy c

Currently, our vineyards are going through their crucial dormant stage. Dormancy is an important period in any organism’s life cycle. This stage occurs after the vines have experienced adverse conditions. For Lodi, that means freezing temperatures that typically occur in January, and this year, December.  Growth and development are temporarily stopped, helping an organism to conserve energy.

With the changing climate and abrupt cease of rainfall during the early winter season, many of our Tasting Room visitors have asked how the lack of moisture will affect our vineyards.  During this dry spell, our vineyard team has been closely monitoring the water content of the soil. Special devices are used to measure the depth of soil saturation from previous rainfall in each of our vineyards, up to four feet deep.   In many local vineyards, we still have between 2-3 feet of saturation below the top layer. In our favor is a vineyards ability to absorb and store energy and nutrients during its more vibrant life cycle allowing the vine to remain healthy during a harsh or moisture lacking winter. Although 2-3 feet depth of soil saturation sounds like an adequate amount of moisture to nourish our vines, without more rain in the foreseeable future, it is likely that light irrigation will begin to mimic what is needed.

Pruning is another important part of our vineyard care this time of year. There is a very strategic and systematic approach involved. Clipping is intended to help balance the vine. Stronger shoots, or spurs, are left alone while others are trimmed to control crop yield for the coming season. Our vineyard team is very careful about the timing of certain vineyards as some varietals are more susceptible to disease. After all, pruning is essentially creating an open wound on the vine, exposing it to harsh elements.

Clearly, California needs the rainy season to descend upon us! But rest assured we will do our best in the vineyard and in the cellar to keep the grapes and wines as great as they’ve always been despite the dry spell!

Growing Up

Well….it’s summer vacation for the kids (aka Lizzy and James)! Don’t we all miss the days of summer break with nothing to worry about but how to stay cool! That said, I’ve been watching our kids over the last couple weeks and it’s reminded me of some of the unique things of growing up on a ranch and now a winery. There are definately some disadvantages, I have to say. For instance, I never learned to skate board and I never got TOO attached to any animal.  Our vacations were infrequent and the pay I earned pulling leaves one summer wasn’t anything to brag about. (I think I earned $1 at ... Read More...

Well….it’s summer vacation for the kids (aka Lizzy and James)! Don’t we all miss the days of summer break with nothing to worry about but how to stay cool! That said, I’ve been watching our kids over the last couple weeks and it’s reminded me of some of the unique things of growing up on a ranch and now a winery.
There are definately some disadvantages, I have to say. For instance, I never learned to skate board and I never got TOO attached to any animal.  Our vacations were infrequent and the pay I earned pulling leaves one summer wasn’t anything to brag about. (I think I earned $1 at 10 cents a vine) But, I also got to do things most kids don’t ever experience. I remember riding to the winery with my dad, climbing up on my tippy toes to get our weight tag for our load and then controlling the mechanism that dumped our gondola of grapes into the crusher. I also have vivid memories of searching for the biggest bunch of grapes for the grape festival and riding through the vineyard to my friends house.
Hopefully, my kids will have similar memories that stick with them….like helping with pressing (their favorite job), driving the quad or forklift, helping on the bottling line, and getting to run back and forth to their grandparents at their leisure.  How many kids get to do these things at their age?  I always tell people that Ian probably knows more than I do about what’s going on in the vineyards and this summer is no exception as he has been spending lots of time checking vineyards with Kyle.  This is our life, not just our work, and they have definitely been involved from day 1!! And, I do have to admit that they think its pretty cool that they have their names on a bottle and vineyard!!  Enjoy a few pics of them enjoying the ranch and winery life.
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The vineyards and winery are a tremendous amount of work but I hope that someday our kids will appreciate that they were able to watch and then work alongside us. Hopefully it will teach them invaluable lessons about hard work, responsiblity and the joys of your accomplishments!! Cheers!!