My little project of following a vine for a year to show the growth cycle is over. You can view the monthly updates I posted on the blog to get a more in depth explanation of exactly what was going on in the vineyard each month, but I thought it would be fun to put together a couple of slideshows to give you a quick visual!
The first slideshow shows the change in canopy growth each month:
The second slideshow is compiled of shots taken of the vine close-up to show fruit development:
It’s hard to believe another year has come to a close. 2013 has been an exciting and challenging year for us in the vineyard and beyond. We welcome all that 2014 brings and look forward to sharing many more vintages with our wonderful family and friends! We hope that 2014 is a happy, healthy, and successful year for all!
The grape vines are dormant and we will be patiently waiting for Spring to prune. In the meantime, we have planted a cover crop to add nutrients and help keep moisture in the soil. There are always improvements to be made in the vineyard during this time as well such as irrigation and trellis maintenance. Here are a few shots of the vines taken in mid-December.
[Merlot vine in December.]
Merlot vine in December.
[Losing leaves, going into dormancy.]
Losing leaves, going into dormancy.
[Cooler temperatures until Spring!]
Cooler temperatures until Spring!
Check back next week for slideshows of the Merlot vine throughout the year!
It is hard to believe how quickly 2013 is coming to a close. It is evident when driving through the Paso Robles wine region that cooler temps have arrived, and the vines are DONE for the year. The colors are vibrant and varied, from bright yellows to deep reds, and even the beginning of brown are everywhere. It won’t be long before the leaves are crispy and falling off the vine altogether!
[The Merlot vine I have been following all year, on it's way to dormancy.]
The Merlot vine I have been following all year, on it’s way to dormancy.
[A cool Fall morning, it won't be long until there is frost between the vines thanks to the cooler temps.]
A cool Fall morning, it won’t be long until there is frost between the vines thanks to the cooler temps.
[The leaves are about to fall and soon there will just be the canes waiting to be pruned in the Spring.]
The leaves are about to fall and soon there will just be the canes waiting to be pruned in the Spring.
[We recently enjoyed a girl's weekend with some special family members. Paso is beautiful this time of year!]
We recently enjoyed a girl’s weekend with some special family members. Paso is beautiful this time of year!
We wrapped up harvest on October 1st this year and the leaves on the vines are starting to change color. There are beautiful shades of orange and red throughout the vineyard, depending on varietal. The Grenache grapes are still showing the most green, with the Merlot showing green and red, and the Syrah practically all orange. Fall really is a great time to tour a vineyard!
[Syrah to the left and Grenache to the right - great contrast!]
Syrah to the left and Grenache to the right – great contrast!
[Merlot block, hints of red throughout.]
Merlot block, hints of red throughout.
As the nights get cooler, we may experience some frost that will quickly change the leaves from the beautiful Fall hues to brown when they eventually all fall off and Winter approaches. In the meantime, here are some great pics if you are unable to get to the vineyard to experience the Fall season yourself!
[Merlot vine we have been following all year.]
Merlot vine we have been following all year.
[Merlot up close!]
Merlot up close!
It has been a busy month in the vineyard. We typically don’t start harvest until late September or early October, but this year we are going to be finishing up with the last of our Merlot on October 1st! I arrived in Paso just hours before a crew showed up to start harvesting Merlot, including the vine I have been following all year.
[A common siting around Paso, trucks hauling grapes.]
A common siting around Paso, trucks hauling grapes.
[A cluster just before the machine harvester got to it!]
A cluster just before the machine harvester got to it!
[The remains of a cluster after harvest.]
The remains of a cluster after harvest.
[You can really see the difference between our Grenache (left) and Syrah (right) this time of year!]
You can really see the difference between our Grenache (left) and Syrah (right) this time of year!
Another growing season coming to an end. We are looking forward to cooler temperatures and working on various vineyard improvements before next Spring!
Harvest is expected to start earlier than normal this year. We have started taking sugar samples to track the maturity and help us determine the optimal harvest date for each block of fruit.
As the grapes ripen, sugar content increases and acidity decreases. We strive to reach the perfect balance of sugar and acidity to make the best wines possible. One way of determining this balance is by measuring the sugar content of grapes (brix). We aim for 23 – 26 degrees brix at harvest. Last week, our Merlot blocks were at 19.5 and 20.5, our Grenache was at 21.3, and our Syrah was at 19.8 degrees brix. We are getting close!
Here are a few pictures of the Merlot vine I have been following this year:
And one gorgeous view of the vines as we approach harvest!
If you joined us for our Third Annual Release Party, you know how warm it has been in Paso Robles this summer! For the most part, the vines have been thriving in the heat. The clusters are fully developed and the crop looks good!
[The canopy is shading the grapes from sunburn.]
The canopy is shading the grapes from sunburn.
[Healthy Merlot clusters.]
Healthy Merlot clusters.
[The first signs of verasion.]
The first signs of verasion.
[New Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted last week.]
New Cabernet Sauvignon vines planted last week.
Thirty acres of new vines were planted last week bringing our total acreage to 72. Blog post on the new development coming soon!
It has been hot and dry this year, we are definitely experiencing drought on the Central Coast. Despite the dry conditions, the vines look good, and we have experienced fruit set in June. Berries are forming in the clusters and we are expecting harvest to occur in just 3.5 short months!
[The canopy is thriving with warm weather conditions!]
The canopy is thriving with warm weather conditions!
[We have been irrigating more than usual this hot Spring.]
We have been irrigating more than usual this hot Spring.
[Fruit set looks good!]
Fruit set looks good!
We hope to see you at the end of the month at the Release Party! Get up close and personal with the vines on our vineyard tour!
It has been warm in Paso Robles! We have seen a lot of new growth all over the vineyard. It is really exciting to see the first clusters forming on the vines that were planted last year. We will not have a viable crop for wine production from those new vines this year, but it is great to see they are thriving!
[Great canopy growth!]
Great canopy growth!
[Young Mourvedre vine.]
Young Mourvedre vine.
I got to spend a quick but wonderful weekend in Paso for the inaugural CABs of Distinction event put on by the Paso Robles CAB Collective. The events were fabulous and the wines amazing. If you can, I highly recommend attending the consumer event next year!
I was able to take a few pictures of the vineyard to get in this blog post before the end of the month! Spring can be a stressful time in the vineyard. Once the buds break through, it is crucial to keep the new growth safe from the elements. It can still get pretty cold in the early morning hours and the vines are susceptible to frost. Frost can drastically reduce the yield of a crop and in the worst case, destroy an entire crop. Fortunately, because of our location and the fact that we delay pruning for so long at the beginning of the year, we do not typically experience extensive frost damage.
We are taking frost into consideration when developing the new plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon and taking several measures to protect the new vines from frost in the future. A blog post describing those measures will be coming soon!
[Left - April 5th, Right - April 28th]
Left – April 5th, Right – April 28th
[Fragile new growth.]
Fragile new growth.
It is in the 90’s today in Paso Robles, so expect to see much more green and substantial growth in May’s post!