More talk about rain
Many of you have asked how this year's rains affected our vineyards. Considering that we have had so much rain, this is a good question. The simple answer is that since the vines didn't start budding until early March, the vines were dormant during most of the rains.
Fortunately, our vineyards are planted on slopes so the rain water didn't collect, but pretty well drained away. So the vines are now experiencing only slightly extra moisture in the soil. Soon they will be on their planned regimen of irrigation since there won't be any more significant rain until October. This lack of summer rain is a huge advantage of the California climate for wine grapes. We can give them water just when it will add flavor to the grapes and withhold at all other times. This is not possible in many other wine growing regions. Leticia and I lived in France, where it often rained in August and September, just when the grapes are ripening and need sunshine instead of rain.
No matter the season nor the weather it seems there is always work for our vineyard crew. In fact they work extra hard when it rains, they must keep all the run off water controlled and diverted into run off basins to prevent erosion which is always a threat on hillside vineyards. Our vineyards are criss crossed with a series of drainage pipes which feed the runoff water to the nearest stream on our property. The vineyardists are out in the rain with their waterproof coveralls using shovels to keep all the little drainage ditches functioning.
At the end of the day, after spending time in a rainy vineyard, nothing is better than a warm fireplace and a glass of Cabernet. Cheers!