The shortest month has arrived, but it’s still a busy time in vineyards across the Northern Hemisphere.
This is a time of the year that many winery and vineyard owners decide to increase their planted acreage. If new plantings are planned, the fields are prepared, and posts and trellis systems are installed for the young vines.
If it wasn’t already completed during the final week of January, pruning is finished on the long-established vines.
And if the weather is warm toward the end of the month, those vines will begin to break their winter dormancy and develop plump buds.
Experienced vineyard managers and workers know that when fluid drips from fresh pruning cuts, bud break is quickly approaching.
Almost overnight, yellow blossoms of wild mustard begin to flower between the vines in the Napa Valley and parts of Sonoma County. And throughout California, the emergence of bright orange California poppies is a sure sign that the growing season is about to begin.
Every year is a new year in Wine Country, filled with possibilities. Not every year can be “the vintage of the century,” but it holds the opportunity for vintners to try new procedures in the cellar, test the toast levels of their barrels, and experiment with a countless number of blends.
Will 2021 be the year that a winemaker crafts is or her finest cuvee ever?
We won’t now for several months (or perhaps several years), but what we do know is that the long journey begins in the shortest month.