What does a lady have to do to get a drink around here?

When we’re out of town, ask Mother Nature. She poured 6” of rain on Howell Mountain in May. It’s very unusual for Napa Valley to get any rain in May. It’s an unusual year.

This is bud break. The colorful buds are just coming out of the woody vines. Bud break occurred April 21, 3-4 weeks later than normal. Bud break was delayed because of cool daytime temperatures. That delay eliminated frost risk for most of April. Frost danger begins when buds appear.


Where are the fashion police when we need them?

Barb is mowing the cover crop for the first time this season. Obviously she’s concerned with carefully steering the tractor through the narrow rows. No texting and driving on the tractor.

With all the rain, the cover crop grew more than 10″ tall. During frost season, the cover crop must be kept mowed to a maximum height of 2” so gravity can move the frost layer that forms on the ground to our cold air drain.

Although we were prepared for frost (notice the frost tarps hanging on the fence) we didn’t have any frost danger this season. For the first time in 9 years, the cold air drain didn’t run 1 night. It usually runs 5-6 nights in April and May.


Grape clusters form when the shoots are about 10” tall, just a few weeks after bud break.


In early June, the vineyard was in bloom. That’s when the clusters look like hairy banana peppers. Grapevines are self pollinating. Those tiny white hairs move gently in the breeze and pollinate the grapes. That takes about 2 weeks. Our fruit set looks good, but we have a long way to go.


Grape vines grow like weeds when the days are hot and sunny. By mid-June you can see they’re tall and wild. Barb is raising the 2 training wires we dropped to the ground in March when we prepared for pruning. The 2 wires must be connected to both sides of each stake. The canes have to grow straight and upright to give the clusters plenty of exposure to sunlight, heat, and air.

Now we wait for the grapes to develop from the size of BBs to blueberries and to go through veraison.


Our Current Release Wines Remain Available To You

In May, we moved the remaining bottles of our 3 current release wines to our “library” to benefit from additional aging. It’s working. They’re getting better by the month. They’re sold out on our website but available to our subscribers.

If you buy a case, FedEx temperature controlled shipping will cost only $25 to most states including CA, TX, FL, IL and NJ. That’s because we’ll pay the portion of the cost attributable to regular ground shipping.

Just email us at info@seekhowellmountain.com or call us at (847) 309-4153 and tell us what you want. We’ll email you an invoice with a link to PayPal’s secure website. You just enter your credit card info to pay.

Now you can enjoy Seek wines in the summer.


Barb and Gerry Sieck

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