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2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 1st, 2019, 6:25 am
by Casey Hartlip
As I sit here on January 1st (with NO hangover I'm proud to report) I wonder what the next vintage will bring. Will we get enough rainfall? Will the grape market soften after a big crop and slowing sales? What about labor? It won't be boring that much I know.
Lynne and I head off for warmer climes in less than a week, and like my annual hunting trip it's time to turn off the switch. Come late March until the end of October it's an intense seven day a week job full of challenges. I always appreciate the feedback I receive both on the board and in PM's. Good luck to all of us!!

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 2nd, 2019, 12:25 pm
by Merrill Lindquist
Happy New Year from Calistoga!

We had a windstorm between 7-9:00 yesterday morning, and it was a big one. Lots of small branches down - the ones that did not go down a year ago in the Tubbs Fire. Those high winds also took every last leaf from my vines - they are now totally bare. I love the look of each stage the vines go through. This time of year they are all brown but against a backdrop of eye-shocking green throughout the vineyard and anywhere surrounding the vineyard. Rain and then sun, repeat/repeat, and this is what you get.

This morning at 7:00 it was 28 degrees on my deck at the house. By 8:00 it had dropped to 25. Now, at 12:15, that same location is reading 50. The sun is bright, the skies are clear, and with a sweater or light jacket you can sit out, overlooking the vineyard, and be quite comfortable.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 3rd, 2019, 6:56 pm
by Casey Hartlip
Safety meeting today. Happy to say we have 4 new crew members. Looks like we might be entering a wet spell. Maybe even 3-4 inches over 5 days? Fingers crossed. Y'all have fun while I'm sipping tequila and getting some sun! Wil try not to post any pics of dead animals or fish to offend Merrill.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 4th, 2019, 2:58 pm
by Edward H. Earles
(Bump for bookmark.)

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 4th, 2019, 3:47 pm
by Casey Hartlip
Pruned for a while with the crew today. They are in the 1973 Beaujolais clone of Pinot Noir. Amazing vines they are. Trunks as big as my leg. Tons of vigor (St George rootstock) and they are dry farmed as well.
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This is serious work. Hard to do more than 12-15 vines/hour as there is such biomass to deal with.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 4th, 2019, 9:38 pm
by Andrew Demaree
The space between the rows looks pretty wide in that vineyard, Casey. Is that just the perspective of the shot, or related to the dry farming in some way?

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 4th, 2019, 10:07 pm
by Sean Devaney
Another couple of questions on that vineyard: do you know who planted it? Who is getting the fruit now?

Damn that is quite a bit of growth on the ground.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 5th, 2019, 6:50 am
by Casey Hartlip
Yes the rows are wide....12 by 8 planting which was the norm back then. If it weren't cane pruned it would be a candidate for a quad system for sure. I'm not exactly sure who planted it but what luck that's it's on St George and not AXR-1.

We have two different fields of this stuff and over the years this fruit has done just about everything. I remember sugar testing these blocks for Scharffenberger in the early and mid 80's for sparkling. The guys at Navarro used it for both Rose' and grape juice. Wells Guthrie bought it for a few years and was the foundation for his Tous Ensemble. Now it gets split up between a few people.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 6th, 2019, 5:21 am
by Gary Schulte
Great pictures Casey. I think the biomass picture shows how much material is cut away from the plant in cane pruning. It can be very slow going with older plants.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 6th, 2019, 10:33 am
by Merrill Lindquist
It is pouring out. Yesterday we had periods of moderate to heavy rain, but today this is just heavy rain. The gravel driveway has a number of puddles, but the cover crop in the vineyard appears to making good use of excess water out there. I saw an SUV come from down the street where it frequently floods from the Kenefick side of the street over to the Frediani side of the street (North to South). The water was splashing up pretty heavily, so I am assuming it is flooding over our narrow street down that way.

The 3 cats have all checked - multiple times - the 4 doors of entry to my house. I guess they keep hoping that it is only raining outside one or two of the doors. I have a large wraparound porch with plenty of comfy furniture out there, and sometimes they will take advantage of that, just to be "out." Other than that, it's just a good day for us all to be inside. They will sleep and I will gets some chores done.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 7th, 2019, 9:31 am
by Merrill Lindquist
That intense rain never let up all day and evening. I saw few cars moving around. I am sure this will make non-CA people laugh, as we treat heavy rain like they do snow.

Today it is cloudy and damp but so far no precipitation. This is the time of year for it, and as a wine grower, you have to love it. But on a personal level? Yuck.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 9th, 2019, 11:57 am
by R M Kriete
With all the rain, is California above average so far this year in rainfall?

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 9th, 2019, 12:09 pm
by Casey Hartlip
As I check my weather station from sunny Mexico, I see we just broke 15 inches for the season which runs from July to June. Our rainy months are December through March. I'd say we're tracking normal at this point? Now back to my beverage!😎
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 9th, 2019, 1:24 pm
by Merrill Lindquist
Pouring, pouring all day long. Never lets up.

A lovely ride from Calistoga to Napa, then to Angwin, then back to Calistoga showed lots of water standing in vineyards, water streaming down the bike lane along Silverado Trail (and of course, those rocks that come down from the hills into the bike lane). But it is filling up the coffers, soaking the land, greening up normally brown areas without irrigation. So I'll settle.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 9th, 2019, 9:42 pm
by Stewart Johnson
My subsurface drainage (at about 42" deep) is running pretty well, and the irrigation pond is filling. I think it was March before I hit this point last year, and I'm breathing easier about water this year.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 10th, 2019, 1:40 pm
by Jim Hartten
Good to read that the rain is falling on the CA coast in advance on the 2019 growing season. Hope 2019 turns out to be a great year for all grape growers and wine makers. [cheers.gif]

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 10th, 2019, 1:59 pm
by Merrill Lindquist
Today is a much needed super-sunny day. 59 degrees at 2:00 on my shaded deck at the house. I sat out, overlooking the vineyards and Diamond Mountain, with the cover crop up now about 2 to 2-1/2 feet tall! It does look to me as if more rain is on the way, as the cloud formations over Diamond Mountain appear to be changing from white to grey. Oh well, we had one day!

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 12th, 2019, 8:38 am
by Casey Hartlip
I see another big series of storms is getting ready for attack on Cali and the West coast. Y'all hang on!

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 12th, 2019, 10:28 am
by Edward H. Earles
https://www.windy.com/ is a useful interactive site that shows animated weather for a 10-day stretch. You can click on the "rain and thunder" icon on the right to make that the active field, then click the red arrow at the bottom left to start the animation. You can use the cursor to grab the view and scroll it to your area. I visit this site a lot and it's pretty accurate.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 15th, 2019, 12:58 pm
by Casey Hartlip
Just texted my head guy at work. All pretty smooth. Getting some pruning done, fixed a bad mower etc. Thinks all 8 ponds will be full by the weekend. Housesitter reports huge wind gusts. Well, back to my beer!
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Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 15th, 2019, 2:57 pm
by Merrill Lindquist
Pouring here - incessantly. It's ok - I have plenty of "paperwork" to do.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 15th, 2019, 4:14 pm
by William Segui
tomorrow looks like it is going to be fun.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 15th, 2019, 5:46 pm
by Anton D
Merrill! I think you could make a great 'cat diary' video with your little felines...


Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 16th, 2019, 11:43 am
by Merrill Lindquist
Anton D wrote:
January 15th, 2019, 5:46 pm
Merrill! I think you could make a great 'cat diary' video with your little felines...

I could/should. I had my chiropractor laughing so hard last week when I told him my little Lady Sapphire calls me "mom." Truly. If she wants her half-and-half (she will only drink Organic Valley brand - she will sniff others but will not consume) and I am upstairs, she calls out "mom?" If I don't respond immediately, she ups the volume and the tone. "Mo-o-om!" She pulls the same act when she wants to go out. I have a 2-story foyer, and if I am upstairs, she sits near the front door and calls out in the same manner. The sound carries up those stairs pretty well. And she has me trained pretty well. My pleasure. She is a little girl who knows how to get what she wants!

And now back to your regular programming: the weather stinks. It is not cold (50) but it has been raining forever. Hard and steady. Bodes well for the vineyards, the landscape, and the well. There were supposed to be very high winds, and it was been windy off and on, but really no big deal - yet.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 17th, 2019, 8:49 am
by Merrill Lindquist
It poured like crazy yesterday, with periods of extremely high winds. We lost power twice - once in the afternoon for around an hour or so, and then from 7:30 (a minute after the Celtics logged in their win against the Raptors!) until 11:30. Flooding, road closures, downed power lines in Napa, Sonoma, and Lake Counties.

I hope we have seen the last of this one.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 17th, 2019, 10:11 am
by mattcitrang
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 8:49 am
It poured like crazy yesterday, with periods of extremely high winds. We lost power twice - once in the afternoon for around an hour or so, and then from 7:30 (a minute after the Celtics logged in their win against the Raptors!) until 11:30. Flooding, road closures, downed power lines in Napa, Sonoma, and Lake Counties.

I hope we have seen the last of this one.
Keep your eye Boston. This storm is forecast to reach them early Sunday. Good that your Pats are on the road for Sundays game.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 17th, 2019, 10:15 am
by Merrill Lindquist
mattcitrang wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 10:11 am
Merrill Lindquist wrote:
January 17th, 2019, 8:49 am
It poured like crazy yesterday, with periods of extremely high winds. We lost power twice - once in the afternoon for around an hour or so, and then from 7:30 (a minute after the Celtics logged in their win against the Raptors!) until 11:30. Flooding, road closures, downed power lines in Napa, Sonoma, and Lake Counties.

I hope we have seen the last of this one.
Keep your eye Boston. This storm is forecast to reach them early Sunday. Good that your Pats are on the road for Sundays game.
Yeah, Matty, on the road and the forecast is something like 20 degrees and down to perhaps below zero?

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 18th, 2019, 1:14 am
by Paul Gordon
We received close to 7in of rain the last 48hrs. Some serious runoff for the first time this season.
That puts us around 28in for the season, close to 50% of our yearly average.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 18th, 2019, 6:17 am
by Karen Troisi
That was brutal - I think/hope the worse is over. Napa River levels this morning were down over 10 feet from last night and it's high tide this morning. So most of the water up valley has moved through pretty quickly. After light rain on Sunday it looks like a week of sunshine and temps in the mid-60's.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 18th, 2019, 1:12 pm
by Casey Hartlip
As expected my guys sent me pics and videos of our ponds going over their spillways. After 12 days of goofing off I guess it's time to come home!

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 20th, 2019, 5:16 am
by Casey Hartlip
No real damage to the road up to my house, just some minor stuff I can fix with pick and shovel today. 5:00 am and pouring now. Our house sitter burned a lot of wood in our absence, which is great that he didn't just run the furnace and burn propane. I too see the 10 day predicted dry spell ahead. Looking forward to seeing how weak my pruning hand got by only holding tacos and cocktails for 12 days! Vineyard pics tomorrow I promise.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 20th, 2019, 10:07 am
by Merrill Lindquist
I am seeing a bit of sun peeking through at the moment, but it could go either way. Lots and lots of rain, for sure.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 22nd, 2019, 7:39 pm
by Casey Hartlip
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Ok this is for the hardcore geeks. One vine has been prepruned by the ladies crew the other has not had the canes removed. Hope you see the difference of how easy it is to prune when the heavy lifting is done.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 23rd, 2019, 6:54 pm
by Ron Erickson
Casey Hartlip wrote:
January 15th, 2019, 12:58 pm
Just texted my head guy at work. All pretty smooth. Getting some pruning done, fixed a bad mower etc. Thinks all 8 ponds will be full by the weekend. Housesitter reports huge wind gusts. Well, back to my beer!
IMG_20190115_081332909.jpg
Zihuatanejo?

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 23rd, 2019, 7:33 pm
by Casey Hartlip
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Yes sir our little town. Great view from IL Mare one night.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 23rd, 2019, 8:42 pm
by Ron Erickson
I did the resort side a couple of times, but I always made it a point to cross the hill to visit the bay during my stays . (Las Gatas)

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 24th, 2019, 6:31 am
by Casey Hartlip
A productive day yesterday. Placed two of my A pruners in a 2015 Chardonnay field and spent a couple hours making sure they knew the plan. Spent an hour back in the Gruner solo to reconnect. Then delivered one of our tractors to the dealer for some winter repairs. If that wasn't enough, I took my 22 foot gooseneck trailer in for bearing and brake work. I still had time for a 45 minute power walk out at Lake Mendocino in the late afternoon. Now W-2s and 1099's and other carp that piled up while I was goofing.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 24th, 2019, 8:35 am
by Merrill Lindquist
Freezing cold mornings give way to warm, sunny afternoons. The vineyard is alive with a cover crop that is 3-4 feet high in some areas. Anything that is brown during the growing months is bright green. The gardener, who has been off for a month, mowed it all down tight yesterday. Will get a photo posted later (right now I have the biggest Black Cat you have ever seen in my lap between me and my laptop).

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 28th, 2019, 6:22 pm
by Casey Hartlip
Well we've had some nice weather for a week or so but here comes some more rain. I haven't said this in years but we're not super behind on our pruning! I've been starting to meet with customers (one of my favorite duties) and take the temperature of the coming season/market. With 16-18 different customers it's always a mixed bag. Most of my contracts are multi year deals so that we're not doing all this dancing every year. Every year I have certain deals expiring that need attention. This year will be no different. Deer stew this Friday with pics!

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: January 30th, 2019, 5:33 pm
by Casey Hartlip
Home bound today taking care of my sick spouse. Looks like the storm has peetered out? Maybe some showers tonight. I guess the next one is a dandy.

My ladies crew moving ahead prepruning has been a win. The guys are motoring along. No need for Saturday workdays so far. At some point we'll shift the gals to tying but not for a while.

Did some deposits/payroll/data entry today since I was home. Things looking flush. I actually sold some grapes today. Market activity has been somewhat slow but it's nice to have customers come forward and purchase early. I still have some folks who buy year-to-year that it's just a formality that we'll get it done. I definitely have Pinot for sale at this time.

I've been pecking away at the 2700 vine Gruner Veltliner field. I'm trying to be super cautious in there leaving little canes. Still guessing a half ton this year with 2 tons in '20. I need to wrap up and get into other fields.

I still have plans for South Dakota deer stew Friday if forecast holds. Might be time to pull out some old Syrahs!

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: February 4th, 2019, 10:04 am
by Casey Hartlip
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A little chilly out there this morning. The hill above my house have a dusting of snow.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: February 4th, 2019, 9:16 pm
by Casey Hartlip
First time since we moved into our house 11 years ago, that we sat in our hot tub in the snow. Pretty fun. Hope to have some pics in the morning of substantial snowfall.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: February 5th, 2019, 6:53 am
by William Segui
Hard, fully formed ice on the windshield this AM. #brrrrr

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: February 5th, 2019, 7:23 am
by Casey Hartlip
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Not as much as I hoped for. In no hurry to get in the field and start pruning. MUST be some paperwork to do?

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: February 5th, 2019, 1:01 pm
by Paul Gordon
A snowy day at Halcon. We get around half a dozen snow days a year but this was an especially heavy one. Close to 6 inches on the ground. Paul

Image

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: February 5th, 2019, 2:56 pm
by Sean Devaney
Great pic Paul. Do you have to do anything special as far as vineyard prep?

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: February 5th, 2019, 5:56 pm
by Albert R
Yes, great pic Paul! Thanks for sharing.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: February 5th, 2019, 11:12 pm
by Paul Gordon
Sean Devaney wrote:
February 5th, 2019, 2:56 pm
Great pic Paul. Do you have to do anything special as far as vineyard prep?
No prep needed. Vines are in a deep sleep. No impact on them. We will be pruning at the end of the month.

Paul

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: February 6th, 2019, 7:36 pm
by Casey Hartlip
Trying to finish the Gruner block tomorrow. It's a 3 acre field and I've pruned every vine myself. Everything from vines cut back to two buds to some with a 10 bud cane and a spur. Guessing that there will be a half a ton this year with 3 tons in 2020. I checked on my two guys pruning the 2015 planting of Robert Young Chardonnay and they're doing a great job. The bulk of the crew now on cane pruned Gewurztraminer. Very happy to see more rain arriving Friday and even better than that is the next week or more showing high temps in the mid-50's. Let's keep those vines sleeping as long as possible.

Re: 2019 West Coast Weather Thread

Posted: February 7th, 2019, 6:31 am
by timmy roos
Do you see any disease problem pruning so soon before rain?