I strolled through the vineyard today. The sky was clear and cloudless from mountain to sea. I could see the new snow pack in the Cascades and I am sure the skiers were having a great time.
Every year at this time I am reminded how incredible plants are at converting sunlight, C02 and water into mountains of fruit and wood. Last year’s pruned brush is stacked neatly in the rows, the wine in barrels and now it’s time to repeat the process using a biological clock not of my design.
We are starting our 5th year of completely organic and biodynamic farming and all the hard work is showing in the health of the vines, ground cover and quality of the wines. My personal marker for soil health is looking for a change in volunteers from windblown plants, especially thistle which thrives where others fail. There is definitely a major drop in thistles. All over the valley more farmers are embracing organic practices and I can’t remember the last time I have driven through clouds of herbicide and pesticide spray on my way from Portland to the vineyard.
Pruning is almost done and with the temperature at 71 degrees, sap is dripping from the cuts. The pocket gophers are going crazy and I may have seen the biggest dirt mound next to the widest hole ever. The ground cover is looking good. Although it is not officially spring for another 10 days, it’s spring.
The “bones” of a middle aged vineyard have a special charm. I see the two decades of growth and the scars of pruning to bend the vines to my will not theirs. Yet they still persevere as do we.
Another season starts.