D’oh! Lysozyme…

So, my 2011 Suisun Valley Montepulciano has not gone through malolactic fermentation despite two separate inoculations and the addition of Leukofood.

The cellar temperature has been above 70°F for some time and the pH is 3.4 (and change), so temperature and pH are not the reasons why the wine did not go through MLF. Continue reading

Posted in Making Wine | 1 Comment

Vine clinic: Pierce’s Disease.

Cluster shrivel.

Cluster shrivel.

Presenting Symptoms:

This past Monday, while prepping the Aglianico block for netting, I noted an Aglianico vine in the first row with a shriveled cluster. This vine has no other signs of Pierce’s disease: it is no less vigorous than others in the block, it has no irregular cane lignification and no leaf scorch.

Last week, I noted another Aglianico vine (#5 in the same row) with scorched leaves. Yesterday, I found this vine to have irregular lignification as well as possible early shrivel of a cluster. Continue reading

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2012 Montepulciano veraison and netting

Montepulciano veraison has arrived.

Montepulciano veraison has arrived.

Life goes by fast. Busy day blurs into the next busy day. For some, weekends punctuate the cycle. For other religious calendars mark out the passing of seasons.

Farmers may not always be able to look to a weekend of relaxing, and observance of religious holidays is often negotiated against the demands of the crops. But it’s the cycle of the source of their livelihood that is the metronome of their lives.

So, in regions where seasons are less defined, the cyclical nature of a small vegetable or flower garden or a home vineyard shows the sweeping current of time’s river which is otherwise masked by its seemingly smooth and still surface. Continue reading

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Irrigation changes

Drip irrigation improvements.

Drip irrigation improvements.

Maybe the season following a dry winter is not he optimal time to do it, but as my vines get bigger, I wanted to change my irrigation by raising the lines and moving out my drippres.

This consisted of raising the lines 18 inches off the ground, adding emitters (18″ from the trunk – one on each side) and digging small wells under each dripper. Continue reading

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101-14 root stock resistance to phylloxera compromised.

Nodosities on 101-14 root tips.

Nodosities on 101-14 root tips. (From UC Davis Vineyard Views Newsletter)

UC Davis scientists have found phylloxera infestation of rootstocks bred to be resistant to the louse.

The 101-14 rootstock is a riparia-rupestris cross intended for heavy clay soils (see Herrick Guide, here).

Ironically, while 101-14 was found to be best adapted to heavy clay soils, this is the type of soil the louse prefers and the type in which the infected vines are planted.

Continue reading

Posted in Miscellaneous | 8 Comments

Vine clinic: Causes of shatter.

Shatter (millerandage).

Shatter (millerandage).

Presenting Symptom:

My Montepulciano vines are showing a good amount of shatter.

There are some concomitant findings: The Montepulciano is in the middle of a fulminant Powdery Mildew infection. There is also some leaf discoloration that appeared after my initial sulfur spraying. Continue reading

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Jacarandas and June Gloom

Jacaranda in bloom.

Jacaranda in bloom.

As the growing season kicks in, two things happen in stark juxtaposition: The days get gloomy, and at times balmy. At the same time, one of my favorite trees, the Jacaranda, comes into bloom in vibrant light purple flowers.

Unfortunately, this is no time to revel in my oasis of bucolic bliss (not that I could, because one slight turn of the head and I see the bustling freeway…).

Evil is afoot: Powdery Mildew’s insidious and often rapid advance, requires vigilance and quick action. Continue reading

Posted in Vineyard Updates | 8 Comments

What’s in YOUR library?

My limited library of wine books.

My limited library of wine books.

I don’t own very many wine books.

I don’t make that pronouncement with some sort of anti-intellectualist smugness. I just have little free time and see no value in obtaining books which do not provide what I need or want to know.

I want to understand wine through the principles of plant physiology, climate science, microbiology, biochemistry and neurophysiology. I have not yet found a book that provides this perspective, in toto. So, besides a few obligatory encyclopedic “world-of-wine” types of books, I have only a few technical publications I use as references.

Continue reading

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Wrapped in wafts of linden flower…

Montepulciano blossom.

Montepulciano blossom.

I paid a much delayed visit to the vineyard on Saturday. It was supposed to be at 7 am, but it was just after 10 because after working nights after taking care of an increasingly energetic infant, I could not muster the strength to roll out of bed at 6:30 am…

I spent the morning pulling weeds from around all the vines, suckering, shoot thinning and tying. Continue reading

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The 2012 season has begun…

This gallery contains 8 photos.

…albeit with a little delay. I spent the morning or April 21st battling a stubborn weed whacker and a somewhat more feeble and compliant ground cover (results). In between mowing, letting out more string and adding more fuel, I also … Continue reading

Gallery | 6 Comments