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.

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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Bird Netting

Birds must have taste buds because they like the grapes the same way we do - ripe. They don't begin eating the grapes until they develop sugar. Our two biggest fowl fans are quail and turkey. Years ago, they ate all the grapes in 2 full...

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Veraison and the Second Crop

Normally in August the vineyard goes through veraison, the development stage when the grapes turn from green to blue. The above photo shows a typical cluster. The process takes about 3 weeks. Our vineyard manager determines when veraison is 85% complete. At that point, we walk the...

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End Of Frost Season

June is really busy here. We began by ending frost protection for the season. Frost protection has two components. One is easy and one is labor intensive. The easy part is setting the cold air drain machine to "automatic start" in March after the vines are...

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Suckering Season

About 30 days after the vineyard was pruned, green shoots began to grow from the spur positions on each vine. The shoots grow into thick, hard, and brown canes on which the grape clusters hang. Although we want only 2 shoots to grow from each vine's 8 spur...

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Pruning Season

The last photos we posted (found in our Hard At Work post) showed us preparing the vineyard for pruning. These photos show the vineyard immediately after it was pruned. You see that each of last year's canes is cut to the spur positions of each...

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