Wednesday, January 31, 2018


It is supposed to be winter, however one would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.  Whilst the vines and the trees of the Napa Valley are leaf-free, wildflowers, cover crops and weeds are thriving: a combination of rain and sunshine will do that.  The weather has been mild and the mustard and I are enjoying it immensely.  Although there is a lot of activity and pruning is well underway valley-wide, including here in Vinoland, this, to me, is the most peaceful and contemplative time of the viticultural-year.  Omphaloskepsis, anyone?

Friday, January 26, 2018

PG snips.

I started pruning Vinoland's Pinot grigio vines today.  After two days of rain it was pretty soggy out in the vineyard, and chilly, so I had to talk myself into getting started.  But once I got started, I was immediately reminded of how much I enjoy pruning; it's just me, the grapevines and my trusty Felco 6s.  Oh, and the little black and white dog that couldn't stop barking at a possum, cat, skunk, or something, hunkered down in a drainage pipe, that was trying to avoid her.  Prune on!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

And so it begins.

Pruning has started in Vinoland.  This afternoon, taking advantage of the sunny, but chilly, dry weather I began to prune Vinoland's Orange muscat vines.  I didn't get very far; failing light, and a mouthy little dog who wanted to go for a walk, curtailed my progress.  But I did get started and that is all that counts.  Roll on vintage 2018.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pretty Milkmaids all in a row.

I was going to start pruning Vinoland's grapevines today, but it's raining, hmmph!  So, instead, Vinodog 2 and I went for an extra walk, a wet one.  Traipsing up the hill, a steep private road with three homes on it, which runs north from behind Vinoland, I was reminded that last week, whilst doing the same walk, I'd spotted a small white-flowered plant that I'd never seen before.  It goes without saying that I didn't know its name...had to rectify that.  After quite a bit of searching in my modest home-library and on the internet, with no luck, I gave up.
Never fear, I had one last resource at my disposal: Ellen Dean, Curator of the UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity.  I have had the great fortune of being helped in identifying a plant once before by Ms. Dean, so I thought I'd bother her once again in the identification of this weed.  Within 20 minutes I had the identity of my mystery wild flower:
"That isn't a weed!  That is the beautiful milk maids, Cardamine californica - one of our earliest native wildflowers in the mustard family.  How lucky you are to have it!"
I am lucky.  Having such a person as Ellen Dean to bother when I need help identifying the flora that flourishes in my little corner of California makes me very lucky.  I'm also lucky to have a milkmaid now growing in Vinoland - I transplanted one of the pretty little plants.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Party like it's MMXVIII.

Weather, beautiful; Rose Bowl, exciting; Supermoon, impressive; Vinodog 2, festive.  I hope everyone had a very enjoyable and normal first day of the new year.
A happy 2018 to all!