Yesterday (March 13th) we had the official start of the 2018 season with the bud break on the zinfandel, syrah and grenache; almost the exact same day as last year. I expect the viognier will be along shortly. We now move into our 4th season as grape growers here at Famighetti Vineyards. This winter was already significantly different from last year as we have had only 22 inches of rain versus 76 inches this time last year. 2017 was out of the ordinary for rainfall and helped to end the five year drought here in Northern California. It will be interesting to see how this vintage develops.
I have had many inquiries regarding how this season's excessive rainfall is effecting the vineyard and our life here. Well, never fear, we are still here! So are the grape vines! Just for perspective, let's look at some data. Last growing season (October 1, 2015 - September 31, 2016) we measured a total of 38.5" of rain at the vineyard. This was better than the previous 4 years (drought years remember) but still below the average of 42". So far this growing season (Oct 1, 2016 - today) we have measured 71" of rain! This is almost double the amount of rain we had last season and we still have more to come. So far in 2017 we have had almost 46" of rain in just two months. So far we have had 18 rainy days out of 22 in February. Keep in mind, last February we had less than 1" of rain and 26 sunny days. So, this year will likely be one to remember. Drought officially over!
We did manage to get the vines pruned in January in between raindrops. We have been diligently managing the drainage in the vineyard as one of the biggest enemies of a steep, terraced vineyard like ours is erosion. Since we are on a steep hillside, we don't have to worry about standing water as much as those vineyards in the valley. It will take time once all the rain is done to assess the situation throughout the vineyard. For the most part things have fared pretty well considering.
Both the dog and I are tired of spending the days in doors!