Managing Powdery Mildew During Veraison

Riping Chardonnay grapes     One of the challenges of grape growing is that of controlling powdery mildew or botrytis after the grapes start developing their sugars (veraison). During the growing season we use elemental sulfur, but as we get within 5-6 weeks of harvest, we must stop. The sulfur is known to leave a… Read more »

Bud Break: Beginning, Again

The season’s fruit and leaves are all wrapped up in this baby bundle.             This week the Chardonnay vines are pushing tiny buds, some already unfolding to reveal miniature leaves and future grape bunches, baby bundles of the season’s riches. Today we begin the Biodynamic sprays. The moon is in… Read more »

Grape Harvest, First Block

Picking is a workout!               Grape Harvest, First Block Although the early morning sky at 5 a.m. was full of stars, by 7 a.m. the fog softened the heat of the past week, and the picking was cool. Two and a half tons per acre yield on the old… Read more »

Harvest: End of the Day

When the harvest was finally finished, we were all tired. Pickers are sparse in the Valley, and since we only had six, each man ended up picking more than two tons. Ramon’s son David watches from the safety of his yard. Cleaning leaves from bins. The last of the grapes, end of the day. Very… Read more »


Possible Showers Monday and Tuesday?? Yikes! Anxiety! I’d like to be philosophical, like I am with our son Jesse in talking about the business of farming, its uncertainties, how there is a lot we have no control over. It’s a partnership with Nature, I say. I know this from way back, from my farming father…. Read more »


Aaron Bader of Adler Fels Winery Waiting Our winemaker for Adler Fels Winery, Aaron Bader, tests the rest of the grapes, saying it will be another week to ten days before harvesting them. The weekend is to bring temperatures into the 90’s, which may speed the ripening up, but also be dehydrating. We will spray… Read more »


Harvest! Ramon tells me that the winemaker says, “Good fruit!”  He is understandably proud, having nurtured this crop for the last year, beginning with composting, then pruning.  By 9 am three tons have been picked. We supply the pickers with water and soda, and they continue. The day is cool and foggy, ideal picking weather…. Read more »

Harvest Season Has Begun

Picking lights across the valley.               Harvest Season Has Begun Like constellations in the night sky, the picking lights are on in the late hours of the night across the valley. Harvest time has begun. I know Chardonnay grapes are best picked cool, and these days many of the… Read more »

Grape Harvest Update

Although delicious, these grapes have at least a couple of weeks of ripening for winemaking. The grapes are within a couple of weeks from harvest now, and we have started checking the sugars every few days. Hot weather pushes them quickly; cool weather slows them down. There is so much not in our control! Cool nights… Read more »

Checking Sugars!

The grapes are ripening and are sweet enough to eat! Our grandson Wesley can attest to that! Wesley likes to carry handfuls of grapes as wewalk through the vines. The dogs like to follow andclean up any “droppage”! Soon Ramon will be gathering small bags to test every few days.  Harvest is perhaps three weeks… Read more »