The 2020 Growing Season

Rain and California aren’t always synonymous, but what is considered our “wet” season is starting to wrap up. January and February under-performed significantly, but March and April made good strides in the right direction! Here’s a quick comparison for those interested:

Month 2020 2019
January 0.65″ 3.11″
February 0.00″ 2.86″
March 3.50″ 2.30″
April 1.59″ 0.08″
Totals 5.74″ 8.35″

Fortunately,  we have had consecutive years (2018 and 2019) that provided generous rainfall in the first quarter: 8.3” and 15”, respectively. While we didn’t see that performance this year, our groundwater and wells are still sitting pretty; nonetheless, we could use a good first quarter next year, so we don’t have to start talking about droughts again!

March 2020 was a little cooler than previous years, with 13 days of “high temp” under 60℉. 2018 and 2019 logged only 5 and 8 days, respectively.

Now, if you’re still hanging in there, pull up a chair and join us in the vineyard classroom as our nod to moms and dads who are newly homeschooling. We’re sure all your kids want to be smarter about wine growing.  Remember, it is one of the designated “essential” jobs! 

If you’ve ever visited a vineyard during the winter you’ve surely noticed that vines are dormant during cold months. In the springtime, vineyard crews prune back the prior year’s growth to main cordons, or the portion of the vine trained to trellis. The cordons are covered in buds, the node on a grapevine that houses growing points including fruit producing cells. Bud break refers to that exciting time when the new season’s growth literally springs forth from the protective buds.

Having a higher amount of cooler days in March 2020 means that this process was slightly delayed, actually protecting our fragile buds from late frost and the potential to exhibit shatter (when grape clusters are damaged and fail to develop into tasty maturity).

Having made it through the potential for late frost, our estate vines are hard at work and exploding with new growth! The vibrant green in the vineyards makes for a startling change from the dormant period.

 Stay tuned for summer through harvest updates to learn about how the weather during the ripening season is a better indicator of grape potential.