Preventing Mildew

Chardonnay grapes in evening. Late July is a time that Ramon is particularly vigilant in the vineyard for mildew in the bunches. He says he smells it if it is present as he walks through the vines. We spray fermented equisetum tea (508) at the new and full moon (a ground spray, which encourages the… Read more »

Napa Valley Tastings of the Other Crop: Wild Plums

Dry, with spicy intensity. (no) It is not true that goats will eat anything! In fact, they have quite discriminating palates when it comes to wild plums. Remember those plum blossoms of last February―flowery memories of prohibition in the Napa Valley, when plum orchards replaced vines? The marauding birds, coyotes, and deer seeded these mountain… Read more »

Wild Calendula

Carpet of calendula. The beautiful sunny days bring the wild calendula into full bloom. It is like a carpet of gold. The goats love it! They also have been known to do a little freelance pruning, so we have to be very careful taking them on walks through the vines and move rather quickly! Wild… Read more »

The Good News and the Bad News

The Good News and the Bad News   First the Good News: We returned from three weeks away to find the vines with forearm length canes and fully formed grape clusters (Chardonnay, not yet bloomed). The vines have loved the spring rains! They were just unfolding tiny first leaves at the time we left for… Read more »


Pruning Pruned chardonnay vine   Pruning In January Natalio begins pruning the grapevines and fruit trees when it is not raining, then ties canes of the pruned vines to train them. Each year he is anxious to get started, always competitive with himself on how quickly he gets done. Still, he is patient once he begins. He… Read more »