By Doug Fabbioli
Here are a handful of winemaker/farmer/business owner things on the plate right now:
- Our frost protection system is up and ready to use. Our buds are just starting to show leaves as I write this so we are now on alert for freezing temperatures and will put the system to work if needed.
- We took over an established vineyard in Warrenton, so there is plenty of work with lime, compost and pruning to get it ready for the year, our way.
- Replacement vines have arrived and we need to get those in the right spots in the vineyard very soon. We will start soaking the vines when they arrive and get the crew scheduled up.
- Tying up the vines and finishing the pruning has kept the crew busy over the last few weeks and another week or so to go. Severino has over 20 vineyards to work now including the four for us. Hard work always gets you more work, if you want it.
- We finished building the trellis for the latest hop yard we planted, but now is the time for cutting back the first growth and tying up the strings so the next green shoots have something to climb for the year.
- We planted a new section of asparagus as the older one is fading in productivity and in the middle of where the next hop planting will go.
- Landscaping is another push for us, with the new sign installed in front of the new building. There is plenty of bare ground in need of colorful flowers, hard scrape, mulch and vision.
- We have taken on a few new wine clients this spring. That means that we will make some custom wines for these folks and put their label on the bottles. This process entails more administrative work with label approval, billing, packaging details and client requests.
- We have completed our 2015 red blends but are currently working on our port blends of Royalty, Rosa Nera and possibly an apple port. Trying to find the balance with wine, sugar and high proof alcohol can be a challenge.
- Our cider project is getting off the ground. We have liquid in the bottles and labels printing very soon. This is another leg of products that fits with what we are doing but gives our customers more options.
- It’s barrel time as well. Any orders for barrels that are produced in France to be delivered for the harvest need to be finalized now for pricing and production purposes.
- We are also looking at the used barrel needs for us and clients. We bring used barrels from California and sell them to other wineries as well as keep some for ourselves. The Brewers love our used barrels, so we need to put them into the plan.
- I am not building a new structure this year, but I hope to find the time to remodel our old tasting room, (the cellar of our house), so we can use that for customers later in the year. There are lots of other projects that have been on hold because of last year’s undertaking. The list keeps growing.
These are just a few of the many issues that are keeping me busy this spring. Some are moved forward by some of our team while others I need to be the main operator of the project. The sun is shining, plants are growing and it’s time to try and keep up with Mother Nature.