Seeing the vineyard for the vines

Satellite view of the vineyard from Spring 2011, before budbreak.  (click to enlarge)

Satellite view of the vineyard from Spring 2011, before budbreak. (click to enlarge)

It’s been three years since I put in the first Aglianico vines on a southeast-facing slope of Mt. Washington.

I’ve been closely focused on tending and bringing up my vines. I’ve had my back to the sun and my face close to the ground or in the canopies in an effort to get the vineyard in shape.

This perspective is limiting and does not allow for a more global sense of the vineyard as a whole.

View of the vineyard from across the Arroyo Seco.

View of the vineyard from across the Arroyo Seco.

The vineyard, at about 550 feet elevation, lies above an inlet on the northern rim of the greater Los Angeles basin area. This is at the terminal end of the Arroyo Seco. What’s significant about that is that the vineyard’s location affords it an inflow of relatively cool air which comes in from the ocean, some 17 miles to the west by southwest.

Greater Los Angeles Basin with location of vineyard. From Wikipedia.org & JPLLandsat.

Greater Los Angeles Basin with location of vineyard. From Wikipedia.org & JPLLandsat.

The persistence and singularity of the direction of these winds during the growing season was evidenced last year by prevailing tendency of canes to lean towards the north-east.

Aglianico after pruning. Spurs all point in one direction.

Aglianico after pruning. Spurs all point in one direction.

Having spent many days, afternoons and evening hiking around Mt. Washington (a PDF version is available here) as a teenager, I came to appreciate this influx of cooling afternoon air. There is an absence of that oppressive, radiant heat which lingers and looms long into an evening after a sweltering day. Some evenings can be remarkably cool and damp – more so in some of the hill’s nooks and crannies. This is particularly noticeable during heat spikes, when the area is actually hotter than more inland locations, such as Pasadena.

During those walks and hikes, I gained a sense of the geology and diversity of the soils of the hill:

(Correction: the soils are La Puente Formation.)

Our initial calculations indicated that the vineyard is in a Climate Region IV. To get a better picture of the climate, I will be installing a new weather station with a data logger to get a good sense of the climate in the vineyard.

In the meantime, here is a more global status of the vineyard:

From this I can deduce that:

I have a lot of vigor….this year.

Advertisements

About SUAMW

Father, husband, physician, amateur guitarist, wine lover, wine writer, wine grower and wine maker trying to do it all within eye shot of downtown Los Angeles. http://www.shutupandmakewine.com http://twitter.com/Dr_Arthur_P
This entry was posted in My Vineyard. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s