Anyone who lives on the West Coast knows that we had a dry, warm winter and now we are into an ever changing Spring. That being said, all is well in the vineyard and the May rains we’ve had recently are adding to the ground moisture that we’ll need during this growing season.
Bud break occurred early this year at Bella Vida beginning the last week in March. Currently we have thinned the fruiting cane by removing the secondary bud, suckered the trunk and are getting ready to raise the first catch wire to control the upward direction of shoot growth. We are anticipating bloom in the next 4 weeks. Not sure what Mother Nature has in mind regarding the weather but if the weather continues to stay warm we will have an early harvest. But, we don’t talk about how we would like it too much. Wouldn’t want to jinx anything would we?
If you were to visit and walk the rows right now you will find lush wild grasses, flowers and chives (perfect for salads) which helps with bio-diversity (see the photos above). Such natural cover brings in beneficial insects and needs to be managed in order to control nutrients and water available to the vines. We do this by alternating our mowing and cultivation specific to each row. Tedious but it really pays off when it comes to vineyard balance and fruit quality. You would also see plant rows painted white with lime added to improve PH to assist the microbial activity and increase the availability of nitrogen and phosphorus.
Next up will be daily management through bloom, veraison and then on to harvest. There is never a shortage of work to do in the vineyard and the next time you visit you’ll probably find me on the tractor or walking the rows. Be sure to wave hello.
Steven Whiteside is the owner and farmer of Bella Vida Vineyards. This blog provides a channel for Steven to share insights, activities and important details about Bella Vida Vineyard.