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Savoring Summer: Vineyard Prep For Harvest

JOsh, Vineyard, Walking

All Hands On Deck

Sum­mer brings intense heat to the vine­yard, demand­ing atten­tive­ness in these last few weeks pri­or to har­vest. Fol­low­ing the abun­dant win­ter rains of 2023, the vines are thriv­ing as grape berries begin to size up” with the promise of rich, con­cen­trat­ed fla­vors. How­ev­er, along with this abun­dance comes a few chal­lenges that require care­ful farm­ing and preparation.

One result from the del­uge of win­ter rain in our vine­yard is the pro­lif­er­a­tion of weeds. The rain­wa­ter that nur­tured our vines all win­ter also pro­vid­ed fer­tile ground for weed growth. Organ­ic farm­ing is a prac­tice in col­lab­o­rat­ing with moth­er nature to nur­ture all that she offers while gen­tly mak­ing space for our crop to thrive. The weeds are mit­i­gat­ed with the age-old prac­tice of hand hoe­ing in hot weath­er along with organ­ic mildew pre­ven­tion sprays. I try to start ear­ly in the morn­ing to beat the heat!

Vines, large canopy, canes, overgrowth, summer, vineyard, organic farming

Winter Rain Recap

All the win­ter rain invig­o­rat­ed the vines, result­ing in healthy canopies, longer shoots, and pro­lif­ic jun­gle growth. The rows have quick­ly become over­grown, a vibrant green mass of canes and shoots in every direc­tion. This new growth makes it near­ly impos­si­ble for a trac­tor to pass. In prepa­ra­tion for har­vest, we are using even more hand­work, metic­u­lous­ly trim­ming each and every vine to allow the grape clus­ters enough expo­sure to sun­light with­out sun­burn, open­ing the vines up for air­flow and to ensure even ripen­ing. Trim­ming each vine enables the trac­tors to nav­i­gate through the vine­yard. The trac­tor’s pas­sage is cru­cial as we need to apply organ­ic mildew pre­ven­tion sprays to pro­tect the vines from poten­tial dis­ease and ensure their con­tin­ued well-being as har­vest approaches.

Dropping Fruit, Vineyard, Grapes, Organic Farming
grapes, ripening, organic

Slow To Go

On Ground­hog Day this year, Punx­sutawney Phil pre­dict­ed six more weeks of win­ter and he was cor­rect. The pro­longed win­ter led to a cool­er spring, which delayed the ripen­ing sea­son by approx­i­mate­ly two weeks. While this delay means we must exer­cise patience before the grapes reach their peak ripeness, the extra time grants us the oppor­tu­ni­ty to metic­u­lous­ly pre­pare for fruit thin­ning, a painstak­ing yet essen­tial task to main­tain the high qual­i­ty of our fruit and pro­mote good vine health.

Fruit thin­ning is an art­ful prac­tice that involves selec­tive­ly remov­ing excess grape clus­ters, allow­ing the vine to chan­nel its resources to the remain­ing fruit. By doing so, we enhance the qual­i­ty and con­cen­tra­tion of the grapes that remain, result­ing in more intense fla­vors and bet­ter-bal­anced wines. This atten­tion to detail ensures that every grape on the vine reach­es its full poten­tial and con­tributes to the pro­duc­tion of excep­tion­al wines. This is one of the most dif­fi­cult tasks in sum­mer; it breaks my heart to see all that beau­ti­ful fruit on the ground. Alle­vi­at­ing the vine from over­pro­duc­ing allows the plant to con­cen­trate on sup­ply­ing the remain­ing clus­ters with the utmost ener­gy for ripen­ing. And we’re already start­ing to see verai­son in the vine­yard this week (Shown low­er left).

Hands, people, table, cheers, wine
Josh in the Thibido Estate Vineyard located in Willow Creek Districxt of Paso Robles.

Cheers To Summer

In the com­ing weeks, we’ll be hard at work in the vine­yard, ensur­ing that our grapes receive the utmost care and the atten­tion they deserve. Tend­ing the vines dur­ing the sum­mer always builds my excite­ment for the arrival of anoth­er har­vest and a fresh set of wine­mak­ing choic­es and exper­i­ments in the cel­lar. The metic­u­lous prepa­ra­tions made today will yield wines of excep­tion­al qual­i­ty tomor­row and that is exact­ly why I love wine. So let’s toast to the future, and cel­e­brate the 2023 sum­mer in the vine­yard and all the promise it holds.

Need some sum­mer wine for that toast? I rec­om­mend the new­ly released Car­nala 2021, fea­tur­ing our estate Carig­nan, Mourvè­dre and Syrah with fla­vors of bright red fruits and hints of tobac­co and spice.