2017 West Coast Vintage Weather Thread

Discussions and questions (vintages, winemaking, etc) for those ITB. All are welcome to post.
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Post #101  Postby R M Kriete » February 28th 2017, 1:28pm

You guys are making me get emotional....back to tractor talk!

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Post #102  Postby Merrill Lindquist » February 28th 2017, 5:20pm

Not much tractoring going on around here. Lots of pruning - was back and forth to Napa today, and the crews are out there.

For those familiar with the Napa area where the Silverado Trail meets Trancas, the famous strawberry stand is still standing in water. Any low lying areas are still heavy with water.

Some sweet pea is starting to show its pink out in my cover crop, but the bell beans have yet to flower. When those white flowers show throughout the vineyard, we will see if we can get the tractor in to mow and turn it under. One of the benefits of having a tiny vineyard is that you can mow and turn under in one day. Larger places need to mow, and sometime later, change over to disking. I don't know of any science that proves more nitrogen from the plants gets turned under if it is done quickly, but we all need something to guide us [cheers.gif] .
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Post #103  Postby Casey Hartlip » February 28th 2017, 7:36pm

My first full 8 hour day pruning in a while. Forgot my Advil today and I felt it. Cane pruning a young field at 3rd leaf when all cuts count in the future of these vines. I had my 4 best guys with me. Fun talking shit and working together. That 32 inch height just killed my shoulders. Don't know if I have 8 more harvests in me.
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Post #104  Postby Joe Webb » March 2nd 2017, 11:19am

Casey Hartlip wrote:My first full 8 hour day pruning in a while. Forgot my Advil today and I felt it. Cane pruning a young field at 3rd leaf when all cuts count in the future of these vines. I had my 4 best guys with me. Fun talking shit and working together. That 32 inch height just killed my shoulders. Don't know if I have 8 more harvests in me.


Solid work dude! I feel to tall to be in the vineyard for many things as well. I have often though about a planting with higher fruiting wire but it would only work better for us tall guys.

We are collecting all tree scraps into piles for composting and burning. Lots of wood on the ground from the last couple storms that had lots of wind in them. Ground has dried enough to get our smaller John Deer out and about with the forks to move the piles. A couple more inches in the forecast for the weekend into early next week. Will be a nice refresher of moisture and a continued delay of bud break.
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Post #105  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 2nd 2017, 6:12pm

Still hauling ass. Men pruning and ladies tying canes to the wire. The sun has felt good the last few days. I've actually had fun working with my guys and my back has gotten stronger with a bit of work.
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I saw this Chardonnay bud today and had a 5 second freak out until I inspected some other blocks of Pinot Gris and Gewurtz and found them tight.
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Post #106  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 2nd 2017, 6:48pm

This is a freak-out time of year. Is it fuzzy, or is that just normal, non-budding? I talk to myself out there all the time. A few of the fresh pruning cuts are weeping.

Neighboring vineyards are tuning up their wind machines and overhead water systems (for frost protection). Could be some are lowering the height of their irrigation ponds in advance of some expected rain. Not sure.
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Post #107  Postby Joe Webb » March 2nd 2017, 7:12pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:Neighboring vineyards are tuning up their wind machines and overhead water systems (for frost protection). Could be some are lowering the height of their irrigation ponds in advance of some expected rain. Not sure.


The sprinklers are running to test the system and fix any issues with the rainbirds. Earwigs and tendrils foul many of them up from working right. It takes us about 4 hours with 2-3 people in rain gear to get our 15 acres ready for frost.
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Post #108  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 5th 2017, 7:42pm

Rain, hail and snow today at my house in Ukiah area. Back to the salt mine tomorrow. Gonna be a pretty chilly morning tomorrow, so I'm thinking some office work until about 10:00 when things warm up. Sorry to say the crew will be out there earlier than me.
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Post #109  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 6th 2017, 10:18am

At my place we had hail, no snow. We had some strong winds, a lot of rain, and some sun. A strange day. But uniformly cold. The sun is just now peeking out around 9:00 a.m. I hope it lasts all day.

It used to be that the rainy season ended just in time for my daughter's birthday party, which was always on a weekend around March 14. That has not been the case for some years, now. Seems like the drought years brought us rain in a different pattern. I have notes from recent years that would have made wet birthday parties.
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Post #110  Postby Nolan E » March 6th 2017, 12:16pm

Upper section of the Penner Ash Estate Vineyard this morning.
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Post #111  Postby Karen Troisi » March 6th 2017, 4:17pm

Game on...

Caldwell Vineyard in Coombsville just posted a photo - they have bud break in Block 5 chardonnay.
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Post #112  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 6th 2017, 6:12pm

Well, I thought I posted a little while ago, but I don't see it. The mysteries.

At any rate, all EMH Cab is still buttoned down tight.
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Post #113  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 7th 2017, 8:34am

Lots of frost systems being tested in our area. Luckily wet ground and cold temps have kept buds pretty tight for us. Still trying to get the pruning done, but I'm guessing 2 more weeks to go.
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Post #114  Postby Joe Webb » March 8th 2017, 2:48pm

Im calling today officially spring because I it was nice enough to eat lunch outside again on the patio at the tasting room. Took a walk yesterday thru the vineyard. The tops of the pre-pruned vines are moving a little on our earliest block of PN which is an acre of Pommard 05 on quad. Once we see more down lower well have the crew go out to final prune and with good weather we wont need to frost protect for 2 more weeks after that.
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Post #115  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 10th 2017, 6:13pm

I pruned in 3 different fields today cleaning up some odds and ends. 2013 planting of Pinot, 2006 667 pinot and 2015 clone 17 chard. Quite the contrast in vigor and age. I had my best 4 guys with me. We had a good cooperative session on the young vine chard as to what approach to take. I love to get my guys involved in the decision making process with young vines as it's such a critical point in a vines life.

Anyway, three Adivl down and my first G&T in hand. Happy Friday everyone.
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Post #116  Postby Joe Webb » March 13th 2017, 11:49am

Things are moving slowly even though the days have been sunn and beautiful. Doing some mowing around the property today. May do final pruning as early as Friday, no sap runinng yet, so may hold off until early next week.

This is a bud on our earliest block of pinot noir almost to the top of the cane.
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Post #117  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 13th 2017, 4:53pm

What a string of awesomely warm and sunny days! Who doesn't like sun, no humidity, and temps in the mid-70s? Today it hit 85 briefly, but hovered around 80-82 for much of the afternoon.

Overnight it has still been cool. I ran the heat downstairs this morning to take the chill off, and have been running the air conditioning for a bit this afternoon.

My Thompson seedless table grapevine has a couple of buds that have popped a bit. Cabernet is still tight. Last year I had full budbreak on the Thompson on March 4, and full budbreak on the Cab on March 12. So we are running behind that, at least.
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Post #118  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 13th 2017, 5:25pm

Pumps running today and sprinklers flapping away. Luckily no major breaks or problems to report. Hope to finish the pruning before the weekend (kind of doubt that) and hope to get a tractor running early next week. 18 people working in the field now. Budbreak has not happened yet although more of this weather will change that soon.

Had my annual state housing inspection today. Lots of nitpicky BS things to fix over the next 30 days. I'm sure I'll find some time to do some farming in there somewhere.
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Post #119  Postby Steve Edmunds » March 13th 2017, 10:17pm

Farmers gotta farm! [basic-smile.gif]
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Post #120  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 14th 2017, 6:35pm

By the end of tomorrow we will be frost ready, and not a moment too soon. I'm not calling Chardonnay budbreak quite yet but we're close. Fair amount of broken sprinklers and needed to install 60 in the Gruner Veltliner block. Now back to the pruning please!
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Post #121  Postby Joe Webb » March 15th 2017, 12:06am

Overhead frost sprinklers tested. Only one split fitting needed repair, everything else went smothly. I have been working on the garden bed and green house that got damaged during the last big wind storm. We put up the tent gor a 10 year vertical event we have in a couple weekends, plus a wine clucb pickup party and AV pinot noir fest.
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Post #122  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 16th 2017, 5:49pm

We have budbreak in Chardonnay. Pics at eleven.

As promised.
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Post #123  Postby Joe Webb » March 17th 2017, 11:48am

The crew is out doing the final pruning today. We have some rain on and off for the next week which will keep things tight hopefully we wont need to first protect for the next 2 weeks.
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Post #124  Postby Theodora Lee » March 19th 2017, 9:08am

A beautiful day in the Yorkville Highlands of Anderson Valley!
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Post #125  Postby Joe Webb » March 19th 2017, 10:46am

Starting to see sap flowing.
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Post #126  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 20th 2017, 5:31pm

Rain again. The top of Diamond Mountain is lost in fog, temperatures in the mid-50s, and we want Spring back.
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Post #127  Postby Nolan E » March 20th 2017, 9:25pm

One of our vineyard crew is estimating our budbreak to be April 20th. She halfway joked it could be May.
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Post #128  Postby Joe Webb » March 21st 2017, 10:37am

Earliest block starting to push. Well frost protect at this point and our first looks to be in a couple days.
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Post #129  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 22nd 2017, 2:58pm

A bit chilly, a bit rainy, a bit sunny. All within hours of each other.

The cover crop is about up to my armpits (I'm around 5'5-1/2"), so it is high. The flowering of the bell beans has not come on full-force, so I'll leave that crop there for now (I've been told that the greatest return of nitrogen and other good stuff comes when the flowers are white and abundant). So next up will be to have the weeds hand-dug from between the vines, then the cover mowed under, and quickly turned into the soil.
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Post #130  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 22nd 2017, 5:38pm

We had heavy Texas-like showers this afternoon. Almost had hail in them. 30 minutes later the sun would pop out. Typical weather for March. Pruning almost done. Once tying is done its drop the catch wires and trellis repairs. Prolly going to lay the ladies off until suckering (disbudding) happens. Frost alarms are set. Tractors almost ready to mow. Where's my gin bottle?
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Post #131  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 22nd 2017, 6:04pm

Casey Hartlip wrote:We had heavy Texas-like showers this afternoon. Almost had hail in them. 30 minutes later the sun would pop out. Typical weather for March. Pruning almost done. Once tying is done its drop the catch wires and trellis repairs. Prolly going to lay the ladies off until suckering (disbudding) happens. Frost alarms are set. Tractors almost ready to mow. Where's my gin bottle?
Your gin bottle is in the freezer, where it belongs. So does that mean you will take the buds off as they break? I mean the extraneous ones. We won't sucker until we have some lengthy shoots.

I have been curious about a vineyard down the street. Was owned by Sterling...now whichever parent group owns them. But no sign of pruning, irrigation tubing torn out, and so I am assuming they are going to tear out the vines?
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Post #132  Postby Nolan E » March 22nd 2017, 6:51pm

Merrill, it's going to made into a "natural wine"
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Post #133  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 24th 2017, 7:11am

I had a tasting with Jim Klein of Navarro Vineyards yesterday. We tasted Pinot Gris, Riesling and Gewurtz all from our vineyard. We'll taste Chard and Pinot noir in a couple of months.

The aromatic whites are all fermented in oak ovals that have chilling plates inside them. Although I've known this for many years I'd never really seen them before. Impressive.
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Post #134  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 24th 2017, 10:39am

That IS impressive looking.

We are having a pretty steady rain - at least it kept the temperatures for going near freezing overnight. But enough of the rain, already.
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Post #135  Postby Joe Webb » March 27th 2017, 12:52pm

Even with the cool weather and rain things are moving along. Its going to get very spring like over the next week.
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Post #136  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 27th 2017, 4:49pm

So much for your two extra weeks of not having to frost protect!
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Post #137  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 27th 2017, 6:02pm

I trudged out in that immense cover crop to do a deeper investigation. A few buds here and there looked like they were thinking about it. Nothing like what Joe is showing above. I think I can say with some confidence that I will not be planning a mid-September trip back east. It did not get warm today as it was supposed to. A bitterly cold wind was blowing all day from the west. I went down the street about a mile, to Solage, and there were many people enjoying their lunch in the sun without that wind. My place sits in an interesting micro-climate area, for sure.
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Post #138  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 28th 2017, 3:24pm

Finished the pruning today....for the most part. The last major hurdle was a 5 acre pinot field that we're converting from cordon to cane pruning. A process we did on 7 acres of of Pinot last spring. Now there's just 2700 Gruner Veltliner vines to be cut back to two buds. There's also some big cuts to make on 30-40 acres of older vines. Cuts we don't like to make early in the season due to a greater chance of trunk diseases like eutypa or dead arm. The big cuts will take 5-6 guys a week of walking the rows looking for those vines.

As always the ladies are hurrying behind trying to finish up the tying. Next job will be dropping wires and trellis repair which in many of our fields with age will take some effort.

All of our fruit is now under contract for 2017.

Kind of feels like frost tonight.
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Post #139  Postby Casey Hartlip » March 29th 2017, 6:17am

38 in Philo this morning, 36 in Boonville. Not that close of a call.

We've yet to run a tractor down a single row yet, but hope to soon.
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Post #140  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 30th 2017, 11:21am

I will officially say that, as of today, I have budbreak on the Cabernet. Not entirely widespread, but the St. George rootstock in particular is showing some signs of pushing to eraser head (small). But the game is now on! This is about 5 days earlier than 2012, when harvest was on September 26. About in step with 2013 (harvest September 5), a couple of weeks later than 2014 (August 30 pick - big crop), a couple of weeks later than 2015 (did I really harvest August 21? very small crop) and a couple of weeks later than 2016 (pick September 4 - again very small crop).

Why do I torture myself with the old facts? It is going to be what it is going to be. But budbreak, flowering, veraison, and crop load have everything to do with where we end up at harvest.
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Post #141  Postby Joe Webb » March 30th 2017, 1:25pm

I have been very busy the last week so have not got to the board in a while. We just finished pruning the SB and Semillon yesterday. Still no sap running on those vines yet. Had a little rain last night .06" out of no where. There have been 4 frost nights predicted and each time some fog or clouds came in and kept things a little warmer. Fans here in Boonville are set from 35-37 and none have turned on yet.

Lots of activity in the vineyards still, some are just getting to the mowing as part of frost prep. Spots not well drained are still to soggy for full size tractor mower combos.

Casey, that block in the last picture is our earliest by far, lyre Pommard 05 grafted over from chardonnay on 1103P rootstock. The other VSP blocks of PN are definitely behind neighbors to the east and south. I don't think we got the full 2 weeks but at least 7-10 days. As you mention above double pruning/late pruining means we don't have to dob the wounds for Eutypa etc. Dobbing is the worst thing to do next to suckering IMO.
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Post #142  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 31st 2017, 5:30pm

Merrill Lindquist wrote:
Casey Hartlip wrote:We had heavy Texas-like showers this afternoon. Almost had hail in them. 30 minutes later the sun would pop out. Typical weather for March. Pruning almost done. Once tying is done its drop the catch wires and trellis repairs. Prolly going to lay the ladies off until suckering (disbudding) happens. Frost alarms are set. Tractors almost ready to mow. Where's my gin bottle?
Your gin bottle is in the freezer, where it belongs. So does that mean you will take the buds off as they break? I mean the extraneous ones. We won't sucker until we have some lengthy shoots.

I have been curious about a vineyard down the street. Was owned by Sterling...now whichever parent group owns them. But no sign of pruning, irrigation tubing torn out, and so I am assuming they are going to tear out the vines?
These vines are still not pruned. It is leafing out on the old wood. Ground has been worked. I'm going to say it is a pull.
Merrill Lindquist
EMH Vineyards - "Black Cat" Cabernet
merrill@emhvineyards.com
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Post #143  Postby Merrill Lindquist » March 31st 2017, 5:32pm

In this warmth, things are not developing in a linear fashion. Exponential, is what I would call it. Budding out all over the place. Once that horse leaves the gate....
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Post #144  Postby Merrill Lindquist » April 1st 2017, 8:43am

Hopefully the wind that has plagued us for days has now ended. My place gets it pretty harshly, but that same wind that comes in from the west is what cools the Cabernet during the hot summer months. But we want the breezy version, not wind to bring down small tree limbs, etc.

Awakening at 7:30 this morning to birds chirping and 55 degrees already sure makes it feel like summer. Supposed to be in the 80s today...the vineyard will quickly go to leafing out with those temperatures.
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EMH Vineyards - "Black Cat" Cabernet
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Post #145  Postby Joe Webb » April 2nd 2017, 1:35pm

Warm beautiful day yesterday(74.8) warmer night than in the last week (44.9). Doing some mowing today. Also breaking down a barrel for topping wine.
First 2 pictures are 115 just getting going, then 2 of pommard lyre what all previous pictures were of, last but not least Semillon not even seeping from pruning wounds yet.
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115
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Pommard lyre
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Pommard lyre
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Semillon
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Post #146  Postby Merrill Lindquist » April 2nd 2017, 2:12pm

A beautiful day today - not as hot as yesterday. A walk around my vineyard and down the street finds everything moving into leafing out pretty quickly. Please no frost.
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EMH Vineyards - "Black Cat" Cabernet
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Post #147  Postby Drew Goin » April 2nd 2017, 2:26pm

All this back and forth weather talk makes me think of here in Louisiana: if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. ;)
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Post #148  Postby M. Dildine » April 2nd 2017, 3:54pm

Drew Goin wrote:All this back and forth weather talk makes me think of here in Louisiana: if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. ;)


Drew, I lived in Texas for more than 20 years. California weather is much more stable and predictable than the Gulf states.
Cheers,

Mike
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Post #149  Postby Casey Hartlip » April 2nd 2017, 5:18pm

Hey Joe, those Pommard flower clusters sure look big at this point!

Already wondering how we're gonna sulfur spray in many fields that are still too wet. These years really make management decisions difficult. Mildew pressure is gonna start to tick upward with these warmer temps. With the height of the cover things will dry out faster than normal. Ladies still tying canes out on the wire and its a delicate job to not break off too many buds. Tractors, mowers and sprayers will be the stars of the show over the next few months. Luckily we've invested in top notch machinery over the past 3-5 years with quality iron. That still doesn't mean stuff doesn't break down, but it helps. I will mow on Sundays when my guys have days off so we don't fall too far behind.
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Post #150  Postby Merrill Lindquist » April 2nd 2017, 8:33pm

Digging, mowing, and turning under this week.
Merrill Lindquist
EMH Vineyards - "Black Cat" Cabernet
merrill@emhvineyards.com

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