News & Press
News & Press
Spring In The Vineyards
With mild temperatures greeting us each day and colorful spring blooms flourishing, we checked-in with our Napa Valley and Sonoma Coast vineyard teams to gauge the 2021 growing season, thus far.
How do you prepare the soils and other aspects of the vineyard for a healthy growing season in a below average rainfall year?
Domenick Bianco, Manager of Vineyard Operations & Grower Relations: We are experiencing a low rainfall season, but we are prepared and have experience with this from prior vintages. We navigate these challenges by irrigating early, mimicking rainfall. We also manage the floor of the vineyards to “seal” in moisture, and ultimately, we will manage the vines and fruit to produce the best wine possible.
Carol Wilson Millerick, Viticulturist: We re-invest in building healthy soils every year with our sustainable carbon farming practices. The mindset is to work with the natural ecology to help support the development of resilient grape vines, which is vital in years like 2021. Our viticulture activities are all catered to ensuring the highest quality of wine grapes while maintaining healthy vines; an example of this would be ensuring balance between the vine’s canopy and fruit load as it relates to the vigor of the site where it is grown.
Spring has been mild, so far. Any frost issues?
DB: We’ve been on high alert for a little while now and have had to run our frost protection machines a few times in Napa Valley. We have not had any trouble to date (and fingers crossed) I don’t expect we will. Can’t help but feel for our friends in Europe.
Jeff Baccus, Assistant Vineyard Manager: In Freestone, we experienced a higher-than-average number of freezing temperature incidents this season, but our vineyard team worked diligently to avoid any issues with the vines.
Any new techniques or equipment to note?
DB: We’ve been successful in utilizing a newer weed management tool called a fisher twister. The manufacturer is in Italy. Essentially it is a weed eater attached to a tractor - but a bit more high tech. I know it doesn’t sound very exciting, but for us it’s a great tool to reduce weeds while rebuilding soil health and has helped us enhance our sustainability game.
Are there any previously replanted vineyard blocks coming online in 2021?
DB: Yes! We are very excited that a big chunk or our Banca Dorada Vineyard in Rutherford will be producing its first crop this year. If these blocks are anything like their young brothers and sisters in the vineyard, they should be stellar!
We will check-in again with our vineyard and winemaking teams this summer as the 2021 vintage takes shape on the vine.