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HARD AT WORK

Growing Cabernet Sauvignon in a 2 acre vineyard on Howell Mountain is very labor intensive. The only work done by machine is the mowing of the permanent cover crop that grows between each row of vines.

Although we have a vineyard manager, we do much of the unskilled vineyard work ourselves. This work keeps us physically active, sensitive to the demands on farm workers, and in touch with what’s going on in our vineyard year to year.

Periodically, we send emails to our subscribers with photos and explanations of the work we’re doing in the vineyard and updates on the growing season. Scroll down to see the emails we sent to subscribers in the past. If you’re not already a subscriber, we encourage you to become one. You’ll begin receiving our emails and announcements without any obligation to buy.

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It’s Been a Hail of a Year

We had snow in March, wind so strong in April that it toppled a 40’ oak tree on the edge of our vineyard, and a hail storm on June 11. We’re bracing for a swarm of locusts. The hail arrived late afternoon, and during a...

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Is that a Science Lab?

Or is it an art lab?  Meet Bob Bolan, the winemaker that makes our Cabernet Sauvignon.  Bob is conducting blending trials now for several wines he's making, including our 2014 vintage, that will be bottled in August.  Bob usually blends very small percentages of at...

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We need the rain but…

Winter persists on Howell Mountain. Normally, the seasonal rain ends in March and resumes in November. It has rained every week in April and the high temperatures have occasionally and briefly reached the 60s.  We need about 6 months of heat and sunshine for the...

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Where is that?

This is our friends' vineyard in northern Wisconsin. No. Wait. This is their friends' vineyard in northern California. Yep, this is what we awoke to on March 5. It would be heart warming on December 24, but not so much in March. What a year...

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Harvest 2016

We kicked off harvest season by wrapping the perimeter of the vineyard in bird netting.  Quail are our biggest fowl fans.  Quail prefer to walk, not fly, into the vineyard.  A few years ago we noticed that they're reluctant to walk on the plastic netting....

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Up high, down low, on the side!

  This isn't a hand slap description. It's how grapes grow on our vines. In the accompanying photos, you see Barb cutting off a cluster about 5' off the ground and a cluster growing about 5" off the ground (below the irrigation emitter to the left).   [gallery...

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We’re Halfway There

  Mid-July marks the middle of the 7 month growing season on Howell Mountain that usually ends with harvest in late October. So far so good, but we have a long way to go to get the fruit ripe. We need dry, warm, and sunny days...

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Got any Marshmallows?

  The burning of vineyard canes is widespread in the Napa Valley January through April when there is minimal wild fire danger because of the winter rain. This is an agricultural community that supports the vineyard owners' need to burn their prunings. It is a regulated...

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Back to Work!

We've begun our 14th year of vineyard farming. Did you hear Barb shout "Yay!" The season begins with preparing the vineyard for pruning. In the accompanying photos, college friends spending the weekend with us are separating the canes from each other and the training wires. This makes pruning...

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Harvest 2015

The accompanying photos are intended to give you a feel for what goes on during our harvest. Each of our 2 harvests this year required a 12 man crew. In the accompanying photo you see the small white bins on the ground that each worker uses....

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