It started to rain this afternoon, sigh...
I shouldn't complain, it has been a spectacular winter so far. We haven't had any heavy rain since Thanksgiving. There were two minor rain events in December, each no more than mere tenths of an inch, but that was it. Napa has been basking in glorious sunshine, under heavenly blue skies and springlike temperatures, for weeks now. It's been great.
Unfortunately, there are consequences to such fantastic, yet uncharacteristic, winter weather. There has been no snow up in Lake Tahoe (and I do feel for the ski resort operators) and, from a viticultural perspective, the pathetic, non-existent growth of vineyard cover crops.
Normally this time of the year one would expect vineyard cover crops to be perhaps knee high, but the poor cover crop in the above photograph looks like it's been napalmed. Cover-cropping is not an exact science and the successful germination of a cover crop is entirely dependent on the timing of the first autumn rains. Napa had early rains last year, but we haven't had any rain since to sustain vigorous growth.
I'm glad I didn't plant a cover crop this winter.