This week I found time to get out in To Kalon and work a bit. The fastest way to get to know a vineyard is to work in it. Moving through the rows with steady purpose and rhythmic cutting you start to get a feel for the strong and weak areas. The undulating rises and dips in the ground where frost or water may settle at various times in the season. I only had time for a little but so I started in Monastery with our vineyard manager Matt Ashby.
This particular block of Monastery is Reserve Sauvignon Blanc that is spur pruned and cordon trained.
We’re leaving two buds per spur so that there will be two fruitful shoots this next season per position.
When you are pruning you take between 90-95% of last years growth off. I’ve taken a before and after shot below.
This was my first time pruning To Kalon. It’s a little daunting knowing what this vineyard is capable of but you still have to make the cuts reasonably fast. I found out two things; I still know what cuts to make but I’m A LOT slower than I used to be when I was pruning more often. Good pruners can prune close to or above 100 vines per hour. I was around 30 vines per hour which is embarrassingly pathetic from where I was three springs ago when I pruned last. It just goes to show you, if you don’t use it you lose it! The vines are bleeding profusely so budbreak will be shortly upon us and with it the beginning of my vintage note updates for 2014!
This month had been ideal for wine growing until early last week when the wine country was hit with a late rainstorm which dropped over an inch of rain in some areas. While I enjoyed the change of weather personally, I worried about the increased disease pressure which comes with the increased humidity. After that the freak weather spun another direction when in the span of a few days we went from rainy and below 60 to high humidity and close to 100! I’ve been able to get out in the vineyard quite a bit the last few days.
The namesake Carmelite Monastery looking down on Monastery Block.
So far the season has been very good for happy grapevines. There seems to be an average to slightly above average crop and I am thrilled to see what the rest of the season brings. We’re hoping to get through the rest of the heat wave with no sunburn to the fruit.
In the winery we completed an amazing tasting today of every Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from 2000 through the new 2011 vintage that we just finished blending.
It was a delicious walk through the last 13 years at the winery complete with vintage reminiscing by Genevieve, Rich, and the rest of our team. It was super educational to me and one of those moments in life that I won’t forget anytime soon.