The weather in April was on the warm side and led to an early-average bud break, but the rapid development of buds from early bud swell to the unfurling of the leaves was unusual. With warm and dry weather, the vines exploded into bud break with little separation in bud break between varieties.
The weather following bud break remained warm until the second week of May when temperatures cooled, and it began raining frequently, with rainfall intervals becoming more frequent of late. To combat the wet weather, we are paying extra attention to canopy management. Our crew has completed cordon suckering and is now working on a leafing pass. An open canopy is crucial to a healthy vineyard and wine quality, and we are ahead of schedule here.
Denise Bonilla, who will be taking over for his father Regulo next year, has been doing a phenomenal job working with the crew this spring. Congratulations to Dennis who earned his master’s degree in Viticulture from Washington State University this spring. The crew is working efficiently and effectively under his leadership, and we are taking extra measures to keep everyone safe through COVID-19. We take temperature readings of every crew member before the work day begins, people are working at least two rows apart on all operations, vehicles are being sanitized regularly, and social distancing is followed during break time and lunch.
Bloom is now underway. We’ll have to wait and see if this season’s rain will impact fruit set, as it often does. A slighted reduced set, meaning fewer berries remaining in the cluster after pollination, can lead to high quality fruit. Slightly looser clusters allow light to penetrate the vine, developing fruit with high color pigmentation.