LIFE

The Season of Promise


February is the season of promise. After all, is that not what Valentine’s Day is all about? The promise of love and passion.

In the vineyard, our very skilled farming crew, led by Jason Saling, have begun their work. Each of them will walk hundreds of miles tending meticulously to each of the 89,292 vines in the vineyards at Quail Hill. Boots on the ground are the evidence of our love for these vines that produce the exceptional Lynmar wine.

This time, they are pruning, one of the most important tasks each year. Analysis of strength and balance is done vine by vine, and cuts are made to remove the previous year’s growth and retain fruiting positions for the coming season. Maximum crop load is determined by factors such as the age of vineyard, variety, rootstock, soil type and depth, climatic pressures from the previous growing season and our forecasted weather for the upcoming vintage.

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I love this picture of vines in the early stages of “cordon” training. It reminds me of a schoolgirl with pigtails and an impish smile, full of promise. I asked Jason why he used natural twine and found out that this tying material degrades over the course of the year and does not inhibit the expansion of the wood as the cordons (fruiting arms) acquire girth in their perennial growth cycles. This twine is natural, biodegradable and has a life span of about one year. Next year we will retie the vines with new twine.

On another note, I went back to school on Thursday – and am teaching a course in Wine Business Entrepreneurship at Sonoma State University. It is exciting to meet winemakers and vineyard owners with big dreams, great passion and the commitment to write a business plan to “prune” their ideas. It reminds me that the wine industry in Sonoma County is also brimming with great promise.

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