Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter in the Vineyard: January

January marks the start of a winery's operational cycle. The facilities are spotless, the harvest equipment has been stored away, and the wine has been put to bed to happily ferment. In the vineyard, the vines are blissfully dormant. Cool foggy days alternate with periods of wintery sunshine. You'd think those of us who work in the vineyard would be sleeping peacefully just like the vines - but you'd be wrong!

There's no quiet time between the end of harvest and the new growing season. January is our rejuvenation month. This is the time of year that we're doing our best to repair, rebuild and replenish the vineyard infrastructure. During the growing season, its difficult to find things like breaks in the irrigation system, broken trellises, etc. The lush vines hide many of these problems. While the vines are bare, we have the best opportunity to get in and make repairs. There are downsides to vineyard work in January. The days are short, and the ground is often too wet to bring in heavy equipment. Since we're expecting a La Nina winter - colder and wetter than normal - we may be racing the clock to get everything done, this year. Of course, I do get a bit of help from Squirt:-)

The other task we focus on in January, is bottling. During harvest and then the holiday season, there's really no time to make much progress in this arena. We plan to hit it hard in January. Over the course of the next few months, you'll see several new vintages appearing, and maybe a surprise or two. You'll just have to stay tuned to find out what we've got planned!