It’s close to a month before we expect to see the first grapes, and I’m still trying to answer the question, “How is this year’s harvest looking?” The growing season got started with the long anticipated El Niño rains, which certainly helped replenish the reservoirs and ground water after four consecutive dry years.
I’ve been asked more than once, “After harvest is over and the wine is in barrel, what do you do for the rest of the year?” As much as I would like to say that I spend the eight months outside harvest lying on sandy beaches with a cocktail in hand, there is actually quite a bit of action during the “off-season.”
The hills are green and the vineyards are striped with yellow mustard here in Sonoma County, thanks to the early (and welcomed) El Niño rains. Although there’s still a long road ahead to complete drought relief, we are starting off the 2016 growing season with flowing streams and replenished soils.
One of the things I love most about winemaking is following nature through its seasons. Now that the grapes are harvested, leaves are turning to show the beautiful fall colors and the vines are preparing themselves to start the cycle all over again. This period of time in the vine’s cycle is called senescence, which much like harvest, came early this year.