Winter/Spring in the Vineyard

April 15, 2011

After what was one of the strangest years weather-wise in 2010, it is nice to have the wines in barrel, malolactic fermentation complete, and not much to do in the winery except topping and monitoring.  Had the birds not munched all but 200 pounds of the pinot gris in Kiff Vineyard, we would be bottling a pinot gris this time of year, but it was just not to be.  The 2010 wines in barrel are beautiful right now, and I can’t wait to start working on blending trials later this summer.



It has been a dreary winter, with only 22 sunny or partly cloudy days since harvest (yep, that’s a whopping 12%), and 136 days in which we have received some form of precipitation (over 75%), yet it is hard to complain too loudly when the rest of the country has had one of the toughest winters in memory.  In spite of the weather, winter in the vineyard still means pruning.  Although I do not own a vineyard, I did take the opportunity to spend a day helping with pruning in Kiff Vineyard.  Pruning is an art that requires a keen eye for balance; from choosing which canes to keep for this year’s crop to selecting a good renewal spur for next year’s, it is all about creating a balanced vine, which in turn, creates healthy, balanced fruit. While I have trouble keeping up with Joel, I still find it a very relaxing way to spend a day!


Even though most of us here in the Willamette Valley might feel otherwise, spring really is here, and the vines, all pruned to one or two canes, are starting to show signs of the season.  Buds are swelling, and it won’t be long until we see active growth.  And I have faith that warmer temperatures, sunshine, and a more normal growing season in 2011 are just around the corner. In the meantime,  I will enjoy sharing the 2009 Kiff Vineyard pinot noir that we just released.  I hope you do too!



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