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Tax Day

April 17, 2012

Tax Day is about when I usually expect to see buds swell-up, looking like pop-corn, with an occasional leaf showing too. Cabernet is our earliest variety to start the growing season, with Zinfandel being one of the latest. This year we appear to be right on time, or what we would call “normal.” If you had asked me two Months ago when I thought bud-break would occur, I would have told you it was going to be much much earlier than now because we had such a dry and warm December – February. I don’t think we had much more than an inch of rain over those months. Back then I was checking the National Weather Service web site several times a day, hoping for a sign. Then on March 3rd they reported:

“We are keeping an eye on the long range portion of the forecast … We usually do not put a lot of weight in forecasts this far out…however in this case the models … show a small spread stretching from the coast across theĀ  Pacific … There are signs that the storms could just slowly progress over California and be followed by another one later that week. Again…this is very far out…however it is one of the most encouraging signs we have seen for rainfall in a long time.”

On March 15th, temps began to cool and the rain started. Over the next month it rained about 12 inches on Old Hill Ranch, filling the streams, saturating the soils and watering the very peaked cover-crop. Today everything looks lush and gorgeous. What a difference a month makes!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. paula paradise permalink
    April 17, 2012 11:14 pm

    Hi Will, Just wondering if Bald Mt ranch is also organically farmed?

    • April 18, 2012 7:20 pm

      No it is not. It is however dry-farmed. And gorgeous too. And you probably know that Old Hill Ranch is no longer certified organic. While I think certified organic farming is more benign than conventional, I think it that the organic paradigm is too easy to manipulate and misuse. I have been trying to come up with an accurate title for our style of farming, and my current one is ecological farming, but even I am not sure what that means….

      • paula paradise permalink
        April 18, 2012 7:42 pm

        This is a confusing area and I don’t mean to put you on the spot. More and more of my customers only want to drink wine made from organically grown grapes. Tricky business here in the Finger Lakes for farmers not to use sprays. Personally, I don’t want to drink wine made with grapes that are sprayed with chemicals on the other hand, that eliminates a whole lot of great wines. It would be great if you added a section to your website describing the ecological farming. Even if you are not certified organic, if you don’t use any chemicals, i.e. the “cides” duo, people will be really interested.

      • April 20, 2012 10:34 pm

        Great idea! In the mean time, rest assured that Old Hill Ranch is one of the most, non-chemical spraying, wildlife friendly, water conserving, bio diversity embracing, carbon sequestration conscious, vineyards around these here parts.

      • April 20, 2012 10:57 pm

        And another note; the primary reason I eschew the certified organic status is based on my former membership. Not because of the organization itself, but because as a member I became a target for all the chemical companies who were trying to sell us new and groovy organic alternatives to conventional chemicals. Yes these new chemicals are much more benign than their conventional versions however my point is what I think should be the most important convention of an organic system; Farm in a way as to not need to treat with chemicals. Instead I think Organic has become; Farm in a way as to only treat with organic chemicals.

      • Paula paradise permalink
        April 20, 2012 11:10 pm

        Wow–organic chemicals! I’m not surprised. I guess the best advice for the consumer is know your farmer! Thanks Will, I love your wines!

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