Timing is everything, that's why we made a jump start in January to prune a bit early all 11000 vines ourselves. Normally we have a crew come in late Jan/ early Feb. and prune the whole 12 acres in 2-3 days. While reviewing the pruned vines in past years, we always noticed a pattern. Unfortunately, it was a pattern that showed at least one or two of the pruning crew had absolutely no idea what they were doing! So we had to work with what they left us; often re-pruning many of the vines. This year was going to be different. At least, we could rework the vines to create the correct structure for next year. The weather was warm, dry and our wrists held out for the couple of weeks it took the two of us to prune. Cut, tied and ready for a quick break before budbreak in late March. At least that was the plan; a month and 1/2 to "relax" before the 2015 season was to begin.
But two weeks into February and we've got budbreak on many of the vines. Quickly we move the grazing sheep out of the upper half of the vineyard, lest they find the tempting buds. And now I'm frantically spraying sulfur in the vineyard, to keep ahead of any early outbreak of powdery mildew. Alright Mother Nature, bring it on. We are officially starting 2015. What's next...?