Driving through the iconic vineyards in Wine County is deceiving. From a distance all seems quiet as the vines continue to sleep; but look a little closer and discover a beehive of activities.
“This time is our second busiest time, harvest is the busiest,” said Katie Madigan, winemaker at St. Francis Winery in Sonoma County. “This time of year we are prepping for bottling the 2011 wines and getting ready to sending them to bottle. This time of year best reflects you (the winemaker) and the vintage; once you put in (the bottle) you can’t take it out.”
In Napa County wineries are buzzing.
“In the vineyards of Napa we are just starting 'bud break' in the early chardonnay vineyards in the south county area of Carneros,” said Jim Lincoln, past president of the Napa County Farm Bureau. “Up valley cabernet and merlot are still dormant. So, frost control will be needed likely next week in the ‘down’ valley.”
It’s been a very dry January and February and there is a lot of mowing and even cultivation getting started. Lincoln said he keeps waiting for the “March miracle” but long range forecasts are not calling for significant, much needed rain.
“Fortunately we were able to capture significant runoff water during the December rains but more is needed,” he said. “Pruning is almost completed and tying the vines is the current task which will be followed by smaller tasks such as trellis repair and much more.