Shortly after budbreak, I noticed that all the new shoot growth had been cut away from the cordons, except on a few vines, here and there, that still had foliage on them but were surrounded by stakes and caution tape. I still wasn't quite sure what was going on in this vineyard.
More recently, I observed personnel from Napa County Agricultural Commissioner's office digging large holes around the vineyard, obviously in the process of removing samples of something for testing in the lab. I could only conclude that this vineyard had such a severe infestation of whatever was ailing it that it was only a matter of time before this particular block of premium winegrapes was history.
This morning, a very wet January 1st, sorry, I mean June 1st, when I passed the Opus One vineyard on a work errand, the vines had been ripped out and were now heaped in two enormous piles, and the vineyard floor was being disked.
I have emailed the folk at Opus One and asked them what particular creepy-crawly (as it seems most likely that this would be a pest rather than a virus) their vineyard is suffering from, and what exactly their IPM programme entails. However, I don't expect to hear back from them.
At $205 a bottle, whilst Baron Rothschild and Robert Mondavi may not be turning in their graves I'm sure they are at least a little restive.