An unseasonably cold March has kept the vines in a prolonged state of dormancy. This has afforded us a leisurely pruning pace, as there has been no spring panic pushing us to finish pruning before bud break. A month ago it looked as though spring would arrive too early. Now it seems that it will never come.
Cold and snowy conditions have presented some management challenges, but this is the reality of farming. Typically we start planting in late March, but this year that would be too risky as the young tender grafts could be damaged by cold temperatures. While pruning is winding down, the canes still need to be tied to the trellis wires. This is difficult to do in the cold because we need a certain dexterity that a gloved hand interferes with.
This week we had about 6” of snow bringing a brief halt to vineyard activity (it melted within a few days). In light of the forecast, I decided to bottle, always a good inside “team” activity. The 2016 Hardscrabble Chardonnay and the 2017 were ready. Wednesday was the day, but the biggest concern was getting everyone here as the snow was seriously heavy and roads were white. At least four people are needed to run the line. After some stressful waiting the team assembled and we had a flawless bottling.
We are now all ready for T shirt weather.