Spring Beauty in the Napa Valley Vineyards!
I am very lucky to have a cousin who lives in the vibrant town of Yountville in the Napa Valley. Last week he shot a video of nearby vineyards that are located about 10 minutes from the Silverado Trail. Not only do we get to enjoy the beauty of these grape-growing plots, we can also learn a bit about what occurs during this season of renewal.
At this point, the vines have been pruned, but bud break has not yet begun. The new plants will start to pop within the next week or two. But, before that exhilarating growth occurs, the very critical process of pruning is done. Pruning is essential to maintaining healthy vines and requires a very specific strategy because the pruner is actually directing where the food and energy from the vine goes to ripen the grape clusters.
In Napa, a popular vineyard ground cover is the mustard plant. Its yellow flowers certainly provide a stunning blanket of sunshine as you drive through the valley. More importantly though, ground cover, which is plowed under just before bud break, is used to replenish the soil while the vines are dormant in the winter and for repelling damaging pests that live in the soil. This sustainable practice of planting ground cover eliminates the need for pesticides. If you don't see a ground cover amongst the vines, more than likely chemicals are being used - certainly something to take notice of when visiting your favorite wineries.
To celebrate this exciting process of growth and rebirth during the season that also renews our spirit, Sammy's Buy-Rite has a number of delicious Napa and Sonoma wines to enjoy as we shed the weight of winter.