Vine to Wine Winter Update December 13 2017
As we approach the winter solstice, the vineyard is in its state of winter dormancy, safe and sound from the chilly temperatures that we have been enduring. Following this year's bountiful harvest, we were fortunate to have several weeks of weather that was free of sub-freezing temperatures. This period in late October allowed the leaves on the vines to gradually turn color and fall to the ground. During this time, the vines draw carbohydrates back into the trunk and roots where they will fuel vine growth when the buds emerge in the spring. The leaves decompose where they fall, recycling nutrients and organic matter through the soil.
Once dormant, the vines are safe from most cold temperatures that we experience in the Willamette Valley. The Burgundian varietals we farm are safe until the temperature falls below 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Should we experience a cold event like this, some of the dormant buds may be damaged. Were this to happen, our vineyard manager would dissect a number of buds to access the damage; we then would adjust our pruning strategy to compensate. The wind machines that we use for frost protection during the growing season are not useful in severe winter cold events when there is simply no warmer air for them to stir around.
At this point in the season, our vineyard staff is working on planning for the next season, taking care of a variety of maintenance and repair projects on our machinery and around the estate, and enjoying some vacation. At the end of the month we will begin to prune the vines for next season. This task keeps us busy into March. Winter is a beautiful time to visit the vineyard, despite the chilly temperatures. We hope to see you soon!