Words from our Vineyard Operations Manager, Kris Hicks:
So far so good concerning the drought. We have not had too many ill effects due to the drought. All of our properties have wells. We have been taking measurements of our well depth over the last few years and there has not been a significant decrease in the water table. It will fluctuate a foot here and there but overall we are seeing the same numbers now as we were five years ago.
All of our vineyards have drip irrigation that is fed by our wells, which are supported by ground water. This past year there were only two rain events that are worth mentioning. The first brought over 8 inches of rain in 24 hours and the second brought almost 7 inches in 24 hours. Surprisingly enough this was enough to bring the local reservoirs to near capacity. The reservoirs are what feed the surrounding cities and towns. These supplies get tapped rapidly. This is what the media is focused heavily on because it affects the populous of the entire county and surrounding areas. The overall answer concerning the drought is that, wine grape and agriculture are in good shape for now. Our wells and ground water are key. We are able to irrigate when needed and control our own water supply.
The main thing we are experiencing this year is an early harvest season. This is the second year in a row that the plants are growing ahead of a traditional farming year.
We had bud-break in the Pinot Noir at our River Road ranch around the 1st of March. Bloom was pretty much on track, about 60 days after that. May was a bit colder than we anticipated. The cool weather slowed things down. Right now we are 100% through bloom and well into the set phase of the grapes. The Pinot Noir should start showing signs of veraison in the next 2 – 3 weeks. With the warm weather predicted over the next few weeks, things will be moving quickly. Harvest is just around the corner!
Here is what the Pinot Noir is looking like right now.